MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Riverside Park Conservancy is saying farewell and ‘thank you’ to the goats who kept the park clean and safe all by chomping away. The goats were brought to Riverside Park at the beginning of the summer from upstate New York to eat invasive plant species.
“They dominated two acres of the degraded woodland that the goats are helping us improve,” said Whitney Dearden, director of public programming at Riverside Park Conservancy.
The goats relocated from Rhinebeck to Manhattan’s west side and devoured an estimated 2,000 lbs of vegetation in the last 60 days. That’s about 8 pounds per day. The purpose of having them here is to reduce the number of invasive plant species and poison ivy.
“They’re able to traverse difficult hard-to-reach places, gulp down position ivy, [free] up human hands and significant portions of time to work on other components of restoration, so we thank the goats and we thank their giant appetites,” Dearden added.
Residents also voted for their favorite goat. More than 500 votes were cast and this year’s award went to a male goat named Cheech.
“Not only does he love when humans stop by and say hello, he is a true friend to all the critters and wildlife that also call Riverside Park home,” Dearden said.
All the goats did such a great job that they finished ahead of schedule and will be heading home to Rhinebeck this week instead of September and they will be missed.
“It was just a really fun novelty when you’re out on a bike ride or a walk that there’s going to be that interesting little attraction or great to bring visiting out-of-town friends, too, that didn’t quite ever expect to see that in the middle of a park in Manhattan,” Upper West Side resident Caitlin Clements said.
“I love them,” Abigail Washington, a nearby resident, said. “They have such a good vibe. They’re very cool and they’re in temperament and they add a kind of innocence that animals have and a beauty.”
It’s not definite that the goats will return next year. The groups will reassess when the time comes, but that doesn’t mean the goats will be gone permanently. The plants just need time to grow back.