The Northumberland goats with GPS - no kidding

  • Published
Image source, David Wilde
Image caption,
The three new recruits have taken up residence at a nature reserve - complete with tech

Goats are wearing GPS devices in a trial of a new grazing scheme at a nature reserve in Northumberland.

Bluebell, Lily and Hazel are wandering Northumberland Wildlife Trust's 185-hectare East Chevington site.

Each goat wears a collar with a tracking system inside, with an alert to have them stop at boundaries and not cross into areas they should not go.

The trust said the method was humane, with staff checking on the goats' welfare twice a day.

The alert comes in the form of a noise and for the animals to associate it with the boundaries, they have spent three weeks in a training paddock with farmer Dave Wilde on his farm in Ponteland.

If successful, the trust said the scheme would be rolled out across other reserves in the area.

Image source, Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Image caption,
Clearly defined GPS boundaries alert the goats where to stop but should they try to wander further, a series of noises keep them in the designated grazing area

The reserve's wildflower meadows are part of a project to protect and revive threatened habitats on the Druridge Bay site.

The goats are involved in scrub control - eating willow, bramble and reed canary grass that compromise the flowers on the site by keeping them in the shade and stopping them from growing.

Mr Wilde said: "We are no strangers to re-wilding projects, so we are delighted to be working with the trust on what we hope will be the first of many projects.

"We are hoping to increase the rewilding herd up to around 15 to 20 goats if the initial trial is a success and also plan to use them on other conservation and rewilding projects."

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