Here’s why the Big Island is setting goats and sheep loose at county parks

Here’s why the Big Island is setting goats and sheep loose at county parks

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - On the Big Island, the county is testing out “natural weed whackers” to help reduce the use of pesticides at parks.

The experiment began last week Tuesday with dozens of goats and some sheep going to work in a fenced off area next to the Hilo Soccer Fields.

“We utilize sheep and goats due to their eating habits. Sheep are grazers. Goats are browsers,” said Mark Crivello, owner of 3C Goat Grazing. “So we utlize the two animals so they eat different types of vegetation.”

3C Goat Grazing was hired by the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation under a pilot project to clear nearly an acre of brush.

Officials were so impressed with the results they added a second phase to the pilot project. The animals are now clearing close to two acres of land ― at a cost of just under $1,000.

“We have drastically reduced the amount of herbicide that we use. We’ve used other techniques, such as salt and water,” said Roxcie Waltjen, director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation.

3C Goat Grazing also does work for the Hawaii Army National Guard to clear fire breaks.

The owner hopes the pilot will convince the county to use these natural weed eaters for future projects.

“I’m hoping this takes off," Crivello said. “I would like to see the whole state using this type of method. I do have a lot of science I put behind it."

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