The strange second life of Israel's black goats
A 70-year-old law has been reversed, clearing the way for grazing kids to play in the dirt again.
Thanksgiving came early for a breed of black goats in Israel. Last Wednesday, the process began to allow the species to prosper in the country's forests. Here's the scoop ...
They were banned in 1950
Thought to cause environmental damage, the goats were barred from forests and woodlands after a law passed in 1950. Their intensive grazing was believed to stimulate biodiversity loss. Other countries in the Mediterranean imposed similar legislation on the black goat species.
Their population has been dwindling ever since
Not surprisingly, the ban led to a decrease in the population of black goats, who go by the scientific name of Capra hircus. By some estimates, their number has fallen from 15,000 45 years ago to around 2,000 today.
The ban has just been repealed
Last week, Israel began the repeal of the law that limited the black goats. They are joining other countries in the area to reintroduce them. The goat population is expected to prosper, which, we're told, is udder-ly fantastic news.
Turns out, they're good for the environment
Though the original law restricted them to reduce harm to forests and other wooded areas, recent studies have shown that these goats are actually beneficial. Their grazing would thin out undergrowth that can fuel devastating forest fires. By eating dry, flammable bushes and shrubs, the goats can help reduce the risk of fire. Now that's something to be thankful for.
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