Four goats floating off in a boat

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A SMALL herd of goats has taken a trip across Willen Lake – all in the interests of conservation.

Calib, Pygmy, Jared and Nathan travelled by boat to the lake’s island. The four goats will now spend the next three months there to control weeds and brambles. North Willen Lake, cared for by The Parks Trust, is one of the best sites for birds in the region.

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The inaccessibility makes it the ideal private sanctuary for ground nesting birds such as ducks, greylag geese, little egret and herons.

However, bramble thrives on the island and is threatening to smother many of the places where the birds nest.

To tackle the ‘growing’ problem the intrepid goats have made the journey to their temporary home to keep down the vegetation.

Martin Kincaid, Parks Trust volunteers coordinator, said: “The island provides the ideal habitat for nesting birds and we want to encourage as rich and varied a bird population as possible at this site.”

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Describing the island setting he added: “Getting machinery to the island is difficult so using goats to munch through the brambles is a great environmentally-friendly way to encourage wildlife.”

Willen Island will provide the goats with plenty of food to forage for, water and natural shelter.

The herd of goats will be cared for by Trust staff and volunteers who will visit them regularly on their island home.