How do goats climb trees


The real story behind Morocco's tree-climbing goats

ESSAOUIRA, MOROCCOIt’s a challenging Friday morning for Jaouad Benaddi. He’s been trying to get his goats to climb an argan tree and settle in its gnarled, thorny branches. None of the 12 are cooperating.

Eager to help, Benaddi’s 13-year-old son Khalid grabs a bag of grain and hoists himself into the tree. One goat bleats and starts to follow. Khalid climbs higher on the widely spaced branches holding a bag of grain to encourage her to join him. He pauses long enough for the goat to catch up and eat for a moment, then grabs her neck to pull her toward him. She resists and jumps out of the tree.

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Please be respectful of copyright. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

Left: Khalid Benaddi, 13, uses a bag of grain to coax one of his family’s goats up an argan tree.

Right: Goats like to eat argan fruit, with its thick peel and sweet-smelling pulpy flesh.

Photographs by Erika Hobart

Boy and goat repeat the process three times, until Khalid gets her positioned on a small wooden platform, where she readjusts her footing and stops moving. It takes perseverance to get the rest of the goats to comply. Some must be maneuvered like cargo onto their platforms. Eventually, a dozen goats are standing eerily still, displayed like living ornaments in the argan’s canopy.

Morocco’s tree-climbing goats have made headlines in recent years. Often described as a natural phenomenon unique to the North African nation, their climbing is instinctual to an extent: The goats are attracted to the fruit in argans and, agile as they are, will clamber up to reach the pulpy treats.

Animal welsfare advocates and ecologists say that making goats stand in argan trees for hours is bad for the animals and bad for the trees.

Photograph by Wolfgang Kaehler, LightRocket/Getty Images

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Mauro Belloni, a student visiting from Italy who had stopped at Benaddi’s tree, looks both stunned and baffled as he takes in the scene. “It’s quite amazing,” he says. "I thought the goats were fake when I saw photos of them. But they're real—they’re actually posing.”

Morocco is experiencing its worst drought in decades, making it increasingly difficult for farmers to grow crops in this western region of Marakesh-Safi. Beginning in the early 2000s, some started treeing their goats to earn tips from tourists. The income source dwindled after the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020. But after the country’s lockdown ended early this year, the goat-display business resumed—and with it, criticism from animal welfare advocates such as Liz Cabrera Holtz, Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, a UK-based global nonprofit.

“These animals are being manipulated and exploited,” she says. “They're not moving freely. They don't have access to food, water, or even shade. Being forced to stay in trees for hours is not a normal behavior."

‘Flying goats’

The goats perched in Morocco’s trees are “trained to do it as a spectacle,” says Marrakech-based tour guide Mohamed Elaamrani. “They can climb trees and even mountains, and they’re really good at it. Some of my guests refer to them as flying goats. They want to see them because there’s nothing like this anywhere else in the world.” 

Goats sometimes do clamber up argan trees of their own accord to snack on their pulpy fruit.

Photograph by Fadel Senna, AFP/Getty Images

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Nine separate herds, including Benaddi’s, can be seen adorning trees along the roughly hundred-mile road from ancient Marrakech to Essaouira, a bright, breezy city on the Atlantic coast that’s popular with tourists. The goats generally stand from late morning to mid-afternoon, when traffic is heaviest between the two cities. Goats in trees also can be seen farther south, near Agadir in the Souss-Massa region.

“They’re like mushrooms—they’re everywhere,” Elaamrani says.

Benaddi’s argan tree is second in line out of Marrakech. He hopes that when drivers pull over, they’ll leave a generous tip. “Some people pay 10 dirhams [about a dollar],” he says. Some even give 10 dollars. “It’s not like selling potatoes—there’s not one set price.” Benaddi says the money is crucial for caring for his wife, five children, and animals—two sheep and a donkey as well as the goats.

He says he started putting goats in the tree in 2019 after his wheat crop failed. Back then on a good day, at least 10 vehicles would stop, and he’d take home about $20. Then during the pandemic lockdown, all but one of his 13 goats starved to death. Since February, when Morocco reopened, Benaddi has acquired a new herd—the dozen animals he and Khalid were cajoling up the tree that Friday morning. But he says he’s lucky now if three cars stop to gawk.

It will take up to six months to train the goats, Benaddi says. “They’re very smart—they’re like people. The only thing they can’t do is talk,” he adds with a smile. “But some of them are very stubborn. They like to wander.” Training involves enticing the goats into the tree with argan fruit and grain and prodding them into place with a stick. Baby goats are often tied to the trunk of trees to make it easy for tourists to pick them up and take photos with them.

Mustapha Elaboubi, another herder on the road from Marrakech to Essaouira, says he doesn’t bother training his goats. He and his helpers simply carry the animals up the tree themselves. "They try to jump down in the beginning, so we keep picking them up and putting them back,” Elaboubi says. “Eventually, they learn that there’s no point in trying.”

Do goats ever get hurt?

 Elaamrani says clients who ask to visit the tree-climbing goats often find the experience doesn’t meet their expectations. “Some people get uncomfortable. They worry and ask how the goats get in and out of the trees. They want to know if they ever get hurt.”

Miloud Banaaddi gave up farming because of severe drought in Morocco's southern Atlantic coast region and is training his eight goats to perch for tourist tips. “There are no jobs,” he says. “There are no other solutions.”

Photograph by Erika Hobart

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 Adnan El Aji, a veterinarian in Essaouira, says goats are resilient and can cope with stressors such as heat and water scarcity. But making them stand in trees for hours during Morocco’s summers, when temperatures can soar to the hundreds, can lead to heat stress and dehydration. And the animals can fall out of trees and get hurt. He recalls the time a tourist brought a goat that had fallen and needed treatment for a broken leg. “The tourist paid for it,” he says.

Back at Benaddi’s argan tree, when it’s time for his goats to go home, 11 get down easily. Khalid climbs up to coax the straggler, a female, while his older brother, Abdelmajid, tosses small stones at her, then uses a stick to agitate the branch she’s standing on. The goat teeters and crashes to the ground, a fall of about 12 feet. After a few attempts, she struggles to her feet, and as the others walk to their pen, she trails behind, limping.

Although Morocco is a member of the World Organization for Animal Health—the body responsible for assessing animal health and welfare globally— the country lacks strong animal-protection laws, says Cabrera Holtz.

In 2021, when the nonprofit organization World Animal Protection ranked 50 countries based on their laws and policy commitments pertaining to animals, Morocco was one of only seven given a failing grade.

The organization evaluates animal welfare according to five domains: nutrition (access to food and water), environment (comfort), health (freedom from pain and injuries), behavior (freedom to express natural habits), and mental state (psychological well-being). Goats forced to climb trees for the pleasure of tourists were maltreated in all five, Cabrera Holtz says.

“While the activity might appear to be benign, it is animal cruelty,” she says. Tourists, she adds, “are essentially getting photos of living props. What’s going on here is not natural. It’s coerced, and any time you introduce an element of coercion, it’s not relevant whether their bodies can manage to stand on trees.”

Asma Kamili, the head of Morocco’s Animal Health Division for the World Organization for Animal Health, says she isn’t aware that goats in the Essaouira region are put in trees to earn tourism dollars. She says climbing trees is “a natural behavior” of the animals and is good for argans because if goats eat the fruit and disperse seeds in their feces, that increases the number of trees.

Jose Fedriani, an ecologist with the Desertification Research Centre, an institute in Spain that’s dedicated to the study of environmental degradation in dry lands, agrees that seed dispersal is a good thing. But he says the goats aren’t just eating fruit; they’re devouring leaves and seedlings. It takes from seven to 15 years for argans to reach maturity and produce fruit, so putting several goats in an area where they can destroy the seedlings—especially during droughts—actually prevents tree rejuvenation.

Using goats as aerial eye candy is good “for attracting tourists,” Fedriani says, “but it's not good for the trees at all.”

About half-a-mile along the road from Benaddi’s argan, Miloud Banaaddi—who also has had to give up farming and is training his eight new goats to perch in his almond tree—dismisses any notion that what he’s doing is cruel. “The goats are only in the trees for three to four hours at a time,” he says. “Imagine if I kept them inside the house”—they’d be imprisoned and would go hungry. “Where would the money come from to feed them? There is nothing else to do. There are no jobs. There are no other solutions. This is the only one.”

‘There needs to be a system’

Drought conditions in Morocco are expected to intensify through mid-century, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

“This should all be green by now, but you can see that it’s completely dry,” Benaddi says, gesturing to the parched landscape around the argan. “We didn’t have to spend money on feeding the goats before—they had food everywhere.”

Mustapha Elaboubi's goats stand on wooden platforms in an argan tree on the road from Marrakech to Essaouira. “They’re like mushrooms—they’re everywhere,” says Mohamed Elaamrani, a Marrakech-based tour guide, of his country's “flying goats.” 

Photograph by Erika Hobart

Please be respectful of copyright. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

He says he had no interest in using his goats as roadside attractions until it became too dry to grow wheat. “I’m doing a job, the goats are doing a job,” he says. “The money we make is used to buy food for all of us—my family and the goats.”

Daniel Bergin, associate director at Globescan, a sustainability consulting firm, has studied animal welfare in Morocco and is sympathetic toward Benaddi and other farmers like him. “Obviously, you can’t just take away somebody’s livelihood,” he says, referring to calls by animal welfare advocates to shut down the goats-in-trees business. “There needs to be a system in place. The government needs to work with the people.”

Take bear dancing in India, Bergin says. Formerly, cubs were poached from the wild and trained to dance on the streets for tourists. In 2012, India’s government condemned the practice as cruel and made it possible for bear owners to take jobs in sanctuaries for the animals.

“It did at least involve the people who would have been out of a livelihood and allow them to continue working while improving the lives of the animals,” Bergin says.

Elaamrani, whose livelihood depends on the tour groups he leads, says he’d prefer to see the goats roaming freely and climbing for fruit when they want. But after two years of pandemic lockdown, he says he can’t afford to turn his clients down. “They’re paying money to see something,” he says. “But I do try to explain the situation in an honest way. It’s not a black-and-white issue. It’s difficult for the goats, but it’s also difficult for the people who take care of them.”

Benaddi says that in an ideal world, the land would be green again. He’d return to farming and would be able to look after his family and his goats without standing by the side of the road every day waiting for people to stop and give him tips.

“We hope for the best,” he says. “But only God knows the future.”

Erika Hobart is a travel journalist and photographer based in Marrakech, Morocco. Follow her on Instagram.

The Mystery of the Goats on Trees in Morocco

Even if you never visited Morocco, chances are you might have seen the peculiar photos of the goats on trees. A tree full of goats is a striking sight. It looks almost unnatural, as if someone placed the goats there for a photo shoot.

Goats on trees in Morocco

As incredible as this may sound, the goats actually climb these trees on their own. And they even seem to have a good time up there. But you should know that these are not just any trees. These are the much sought-after Argania Spinosa, known as Argan. The tree is native to the calcareous semidesert Sous Valley, in the southwest part of Morocco.

Overview

  • Why Do Goats Climb on Trees in Morocco?
  • How Do Goats Climb on Trees?
  • Tree Climbing Goats and the Making of Moroccan Argan Oil
  • How Is the Argan Oil Made?
  • The Sad Role of Tourism
  • Where to See Goats on Trees in Morocco
  • FAQ

Why Do Goats Climb on Trees in Morocco?

The simple answer is: for food. Since the dry climate of Morocco doesn’t allow for much vegetation to grow on the ground, the goats are happy to find their food on trees.

Argan fruit

They like to eat the Argan fruit which has a thick, pulpy flesh. So they climb the trees instinctively, attracted to the sweet smell.

Watch these bizarre goats in action here:

How Do Goats Climb on Trees?

Goats are quick and agile creatures. They have been known to climb not only trees, but also mountains and steep rocks. They help themselves with their hoofs which have two toes that can spread out to create a more secure grip. Also, higher up their legs there are two claws, called dewclaws, which they use to cling to steep rocks or tree branches.

These goats can easily climb to the top of the 10-meter tall trees that grow in this part of Morocco. They go up steep angles, jump from branches, and are quick to find spots where food grows. Sometimes they also climb up trees to escape predators.

Tree Climbing Goats and the Making of Moroccan Argan Oil

Of all the curious stories I’ve learned in Morocco, this is by far the most intriguing one. After eating the Argan fruits the goats defecate the seeds, which are later used to make the precious Argan oil. As the seeds pass through the goat’s intestine, they become softer and easier to open. Sometimes the goats also spit out the seeds when eating the fruits.

Argan seeds

Of course, people may also harvest the fruits themselves, but the goats save them a step. So no wonder that goat herders support and encourage this bizarre agricultural technique. They lead their herds through the Argan forests, where the goats can climb up and feed themselves from the trees. But they let the animals loose only after the fruit is ripe and fully mature.

According to the Agronomic and Veterinary Institute in Rabat, Argan nuts eliminated by goats represent almost 60 per cent of the nuts used in making Argan oil. The rest are harvested by women who gather the fruit straight from the trees and grind the seeds inside of the nuts to produce the oil.

How Is the Argan Oil Made?

Argan oil is among the most expensive in the world. In Morocco this oil is traditionally used either as a savory dip for bread, or in cosmetic products.

Edible Argan oil used as a dip for bread

If you buy it locally, it costs around $30-50 a liter. However, on the international markets you’ll pay way more than that for even a small bottle.

Argan oil sold on the markets of Morocco

Most Argan oil is produced by local cooperatives of Berber women around the cities of Agadir and Essaouira, where the Argan tree is common. The process is very laborious as it’s mainly done by hand. The Argan fruit is first dried in the sun, peeled, then the seed is crushed with stones.

We were able to observe the process on our day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira, when our driver took us to a women’s cooperative. The cooperatives hire mostly widows and destitute women, offering them a salary, free childcare and health insurance. The women work very hard to remove the shell of the kernels by pounding them with a stone. It takes up to three days of grinding for every woman to get one liter of Argan oil!

The Sad Role of Tourism

Another reason you’ll see so many goats on trees in Morocco is because of tourism. When the goat herders discovered the visitors’ interest for their animals’ unusual behavior, they decided to exploit the situation.


As a result, many herders started luring their goats up on trees to earn tips from tourists. At the same time, the tour companies and travel guides began bringing big groups of tourists to see Morocco’s eccentric “goat trees”. So now, when people pull over to take pictures of the animals or pose with them, they are asked to tip the herder before they are allowed to do it.

Posing with a baby goat

Unfortunately, the animals are now abused. To keep the goats from jumping down, the herders tie them to the tree branches for hours, until the tourists stop coming. In summer, when temperatures can soar to the hundreds, the goats get very tired and dehydrated.

Animal rights activists started a serious campaign against this procedure, but the herders argue that it’s their only way to make a living and feed these animals. Especially during these last years of drought in Morocco.

Where to See Goats on Trees in Morocco

If you want to see the tree climbing goats, you’ll have to travel to the Souss-Massa-Draa region, in the southwestern part of Morocco. Most visitors pass through this area on their way to Essaouira or Agadir, which are beautiful destinations for any Morocco itinerary.

You will see goats adorning trees along the roughly hundred-mile road from Marrakech to Essaouira. However, these goats are most likely ‘planted‘ there by goat herders trying to make a buck.

Goats on trees on the road to Essaouira in Morocco

If you want to see authentic goats that climb trees of their own free will, I encourage you to scout the area with a good local guide who can take you farther away from the main road. After all, the reason we think tree goats are so cute is precisely because they do it naturally.

But if you don’t have time to drive around and you are absolutely determined see the goats, the ones on the side of the road may be a good option for you.

The best time to see goats climbing on trees in Morocco is in late spring, early summer (May – June), when Argan fruits are ripe.

FAQ

Are goats in trees fake?
No, they are not. Goats climb naturally on trees to find food when they can’t find it on the ground.
Where else other than Morocco can you find goats on trees?
This natural phenomenon is unique to North Africa. The goats are attracted to the Argan fruit which grows mainly in southwestern part of Morocco and western Algeria
Do climbing goats ever fall from trees?
When goats climb trees freely, without being coaxed, it’s very unlikely that many will knock each other off the trees. However, when the herders force them up the trees and tie them down, they sometimes stumble and fall breaking their legs.
How high can goats climb?
The goats in Morocco can climb as high as 10-meter (32-feet) trees.

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Goats on trees - LiveJournal

No, I'm not talking about SUP LJ if anyone thought, although recently there was a post about the History of LiveJournal - read who missed it. And now for the goats.

A goat is the most common animal and its appearance does not surprise even an inveterate city dweller. Goats peacefully grazing on the lawns can be found in any Russian village, and in the private sector of the city, they also often catch the eye. Have you ever seen a goat sitting on a tree? Do you think this is a joke?

And this is just Morocco.


Morocco is a country where goats graze not on the ground, but on trees. This is due to an acute shortage of grass. Goats climb the argan trees growing here, where they eat foliage and fruits. The task of the shepherds, as a rule, is not only to move the goats from tree to tree and control the herd, but also to collect the stones from the argan fruit that the goats spit out. They produce valuable argon oil used in cosmetology and cooking.

Local goats are very fond of eating its fruits and leaves. Over time, they learned to climb almost to the very tops of trees.

At the same time, an amazing picture can only be seen on the High and Middle Atlas, as well as in the Sousse valley and on the Atlantic coast between Essaouira and Agadir. In fact, shepherds graze goats, moving from tree to tree...

And when the goats leave the tree, they collect nuts under it, which are not digested by the stomach of animals. These are the amazing oils that are made from. It is believed that it contains rejuvenating trace elements ...

Unfortunately for the goats, the locals make argan oil from the fruit of the tree. Therefore, for most of the year, goats are forbidden to climb trees.

About a dozen goats graze peacefully on a tree, deftly moving from branch to branch. The leader skillfully balances approximately at a height of 3-4 meters from the ground, almost at the top of the crown. This is not a plot from a children's cartoon, this is a reality that can often be observed in Morocco. Only in this country grows the argan tree, the fruits of which are credited with miraculous properties.

Every Moroccan folk healer has argan oil in his first aid kit. Yes, and official medicine recognizes that a tablespoon of this natural elixir stabilizes blood pressure, has a beneficial effect on the liver, removes toxins from the body, stimulates blood circulation and increases potency, and also reduces the risk of obesity, as it suppresses appetite. The latter can be stated with full confidence, since argan oil has a very specific taste and smell. In addition, it is used in the treatment of rheumatism, sciatica and various skin diseases.


Argan pomace is used in the manufacture of various creams. It promotes skin rejuvenation, smoothing wrinkles, strengthens hair roots, heals abrasions and wounds, is indispensable in the treatment of burns, so it is also recommended for everyday use on the beach under the hot sun.

According to the Moroccan historian Abdelhadi Tazi, the export of argan oil to the Middle East began as early as the 111th century AD. At that time it was an extremely expensive commodity. The process of its extraction was and remains very laborious. To obtain one liter, it is required to process up to 80 kg of fruits, the collection of which is also not an easy task, because the argan tree itself is prickly. Therefore, in Morocco, this business is often entrusted to livestock - the same goats or camels. Animals eat the fruits of the argan and the pits are then collected in their droppings.

About 20,000 liters of healing liquid are produced in Morocco every year. There is no doubt about its merits, which is convinced not only by doctors and cosmetologists, but also by goats who have learned to climb trees for the sake of argan fruits no worse than monkeys.


Not only "foreign" goats can climb trees, but also ours. For example, this can be seen in Vologda. But since pasture vegetation is abundant in our latitudes, only enthusiastic goats climb trees :)


Argan trees live an average of 200 years, reaching a height of 8-15 meters. The entire area of ​​argan forests - 2 million trees - about 8,000 sq. km. This is not enough, given the constant and already inescapable demand for a very valuable and expensive argan oil and the fact that for a whole tribe of Berbers it is from time immemorial the tree of life. UNESCO has declared the territory of argan forests a biosphere reserve.


99.9% of the total argan oil produced by the Berbers comes from women. And goats are very fond of the skin of the fruit, for which they jump on the trees. They eat the skin and spit out the fruit. In general, goats are the first stage of fruit cleaning)))


9000 9000

9000 9000 9000.

Think photoshop? No




But we can also :-)


I can’t help but remind you who are Fricice Goats


TAGS: Living nature

90,000 goats climb trees. Morocco, goats graze on trees. Where you can meet "flying goats"

If you hear the expression: "Goats in the trees in Morocco", you will probably think that this is complete nonsense. Let's deal with it!

What do goats do in the trees?

In Morocco, they grow from the fruits of which very expensive oil is made, but not everyone knows how this oil is made. The thing is that argan trees are very large and thorny, getting to their fruits is not so easy. Oddly enough, the goats that graze on these trees help the locals to harvest. Eating the fruits, they spit out the bones on the ground, and from there they are easily collected by the shepherds.

Goats in the trees - truth or myth?

Of course, it's hard to believe this story the first time, and even when you look at the photos of Moroccan goats grazing in the trees, it seems like it's Photoshop.

But no! Goats in the trees in Morocco do exist, and this is not a myth. This is because there is a shortage of green grass in this country. At first glance, this is an amazing phenomenon that is impossible to believe. In fact, goats naturally have very good balance, acrobatic abilities, and survivability. Even in such an arid climate, they have adapted to survive, to get food in such an unusual way. Shepherds drive the herd from one tree to another, and many tourists can see this unusual phenomenon, how several dozen goats jump through the trees.

How goats stay in trees

Goats in trees in Morocco are not a myth. In the arid climate of this country, goats did not survive very easily and had to adapt to difficult conditions. You can find many revealing photographs showing how a goat grazes on steep mountain slopes and in other completely inappropriate places. It seems that they are barely balancing on their thin legs, but in fact this is not so.

Their unusual jumping ability is provided by an interesting and unusual structure of the legs, which are arranged differently from other ungulates. Their hooves are soft and rough, so they don't slip. Due to this, it is quite convenient for them to hold on and balance on thin branches of a tree and not fall from it. Not a myth, but a reality - goats in the trees and videos of tourists prove it.

The argan tree grows up to 10 meters high and looks like a huge branched bush with many small shoots. The keen eyesight that goats are endowed with allows them to see even imperceptible indentations and make a clear, even jump, accurately calculating the trajectory of their jump. No one has ever seen, for example, fallen down from steep rocky slopes.

In fact, goats in Morocco graze on trees and feed on the fruits of the argan tree, not only because they are forced to do so by the lack of food, they also love these fruits very much.

Where can you find "flying goats"?

The fruits themselves look like small yellow plums and taste bitter, people don't eat them, but use the pit to make oil, which is widely used in medicine and medicinal purposes. It is added to cosmetics, used during massage, for the treatment of burns, scars, scars, lichen, urticaria, and various dermatoses. The oil itself is used for eating, but this depends on the degree of its purification. It is very expensive and rare, so that the shepherds who graze acrobatic goats and collect valuable bones receive income not only from healthy goat milk, but also from the sale of argan tree seeds. To prepare 1 liter of this oil, you need to collect fruits from 7 trees. The cost of finished oil can reach $ 400 per 1 liter.

This tree is native to two countries, Mexico and Morocco. Not only goats, but also camels like to feast on their fruits. "Flying goats" in the trees in Morocco are most often found in the southwestern part of the country, many tourists come here to admire this spectacle and capture it.

Morocco is a country that is known for its dry and hot climate with sparse vegetation, which forces everyone to survive here. Thus, an acute shortage of food forces goats to conquer the peaks of the thorny argan tree - a tree with thorny branches and a gnarled trunk. This endemic grows exclusively in the southwest of Morocco and in a small area in the western part of Algeria. It is noteworthy that argan oil is one of the most expensive vegetable fats in the world, highly valued in cooking and cosmetology. The cost of one liter, the so-called Gold of Morocco, is about $ 100. However, the idea of ​​\u200b\u200busing goat-stained nuts for cooking oil is not very popular with producers, so the Sousse valley and the Atlantic coast between Essaouira and Agadir, where goats graze -tree climbers may soon be declared a national reserve. Every day, a shepherd drives out dozens of horned animals that comfortably nestle in trees, where they are engaged in measured eating of green leaves and fruits. Moreover, not only adult animals, but also very small kids can climb a tree. In Morocco, goats are the most common, and not a specially bred breed that can climb trees, why did this happen? As you know, the southern part of Morocco is under the influence of an arid climate, as a result of which some animals living in these parts are deprived of the opportunity to eat natural food without resorting to their resourcefulness. For this reason, local goats were forced to adapt to difficult living conditions. With the virtuosity of acrobats, numerous herds of goats climb to the tops of trees in order to feast on their favorite food - fleshy fruits similar to plums. The main task of shepherds in this area is to drive their wards from one tree to another, carefully making sure that the herd does not stay in one place for a long time. The fact is that a group of 8-10 goats can completely clear an argan tree of fruits with incredible speed. At the same time, goats happily head to another "pasture", deftly jumping up on thin branches and starting to eat. Argan trees usually reach a height of 8-10 meters. But these figures absolutely do not frighten the dexterous African animals, which, without a drop of fear, rise 10 meters above the ground in search of bitter delicacies. Tree-climbing goats are found only in the southwestern part of the Kingdom of Morocco, between the cities of Essaouira and Agadir. You can see them directly from the car.





Morocco is a country where goats graze not on the ground, but on trees. This is due to an acute shortage of grass. Goats climb the argan trees growing here, where they eat foliage and fruits. The task of the shepherds, as a rule, is not only to move the goats from tree to tree and control the herd, but also to collect the stones from the argan fruit that the goats spit out. They produce valuable argon oil used in cosmetology and cooking.

Local goats are very fond of eating its fruits and leaves. Over time, they learned to climb almost to the very tops of trees.

At the same time, an amazing picture can only be seen on the High and Middle Atlas, as well as in the Sousse valley and on the Atlantic coast between Essaouira and Agadir. In fact, shepherds graze goats, moving from tree to tree...

And when the goats leave the tree, they collect nuts under it, which are not digested by the stomach of animals. These are the amazing oils that are made from. It is believed that it contains rejuvenating trace elements ...

Unfortunately for the goats, the locals make argan oil from the fruit of the tree. Therefore, for most of the year, goats are forbidden to climb trees.

This happened for a very simple reason: Morocco has a very dry and hot climate and, accordingly, very sparse vegetation, so goats had to climb trees to get their own food.

Goats very cleverly climb Argan trees and eat its fruits and leaves.

Argan is a tree with thorny branches that can reach 8 to 10 m in height and lives 150 to 200 years.

Argan leaves are small, 2-4 cm long, oval in shape, with a rounded end.

The tree blooms in April and has small flowers with five pale yellow-green petals.

The Argan fruit is 2 to 4 cm long and 1.5 to 3 cm wide.

Inside the fruit is a hard core containing 2-3 seeds rich in fat and surrounded by a layer of pulp.

It takes one year for the fruit of this tree to ripen. From the seeds of Argan, argan oil is made, which is used in cosmetics and cooking.

Every Moroccan folk healer has argan oil in his first aid kit. Yes, and official medicine recognizes that a tablespoon of this natural elixir stabilizes blood pressure, has a beneficial effect on the liver, removes toxins from the body, stimulates blood circulation and increases potency, and also reduces the risk of obesity, as it suppresses appetite. The latter can be stated with full confidence, since argan oil has a very specific taste and smell. In addition, it is used in the treatment of rheumatism, sciatica and various skin diseases.

Argan pomace is used in the manufacture of various creams. It promotes skin rejuvenation, smoothing wrinkles, strengthens hair roots, heals abrasions and wounds, is indispensable in the treatment of burns, so it is also recommended for everyday use on the beach under the hot sun.

According to the Moroccan historian Abdelhadi Tazi, the export of argan oil to the Middle East began as early as the 111th century AD. At that time it was an extremely expensive commodity. The process of its extraction was and remains very laborious. To obtain one liter, it is required to process up to 80 kg of fruits, the collection of which is also not an easy task, because the argan tree itself is prickly. Therefore, in Morocco, this business is often entrusted to livestock - the same goats or camels. Animals eat the fruits of the argan and the pits are then collected in their droppings.

Every year, about 20,000 liters of healing liquid are produced in Morocco. There is no doubt about its merits, which is convinced not only by doctors and cosmetologists, but also by goats who have learned to climb trees for the sake of argan fruits no worse than monkeys.

Argan trees live an average of 200 years, reaching a height of 8-15 meters. The entire area of ​​argan forests - 2 million trees - about 8,000 sq. km. This is not enough, given the constant and already inescapable demand for very valuable and expensive argan oil and the fact that for a whole tribe of Berbers it is from time immemorial the tree of life. UNESCO has declared the territory of argan forests a biosphere reserve.

99.9% of the total argan oil produced by the Berbers is handmade by women. And goats are very fond of the skin of the fruit, for which they jump on the trees. They eat the skin and spit out the fruit. In general, goats are the first stage of fruit cleaning.

After the goats have eaten all the leaves from the tree, the shepherds drive them to other trees, and the locals collect the bones left behind to make butter.

The unusual behavior of goats in Morocco, which, like pears, hang on a tree, turns out to be an ancient way for these smart and dexterous animals to find food in a dry and dusty area, and also be a source of valuable olive oil.

The law of nature says that birds fly, squirrels live in trees, and goats walk on the ground. But apparently these goats, whose legs do not give rest to the head, do not know about it. And how else can you explain why these nine goats, looking for adventures, climbed on their heads, on a tree like birds.

In a creative photo, the animals look like they are about to pick cherries. But in reality, in fact, the way it is, these goats, which, like climbers, stuck around a tree, climbed onto it in order to profit from the berries that grow on them - berries like olives.

Branches can bend and crack menacingly, but goats, proud of their aerial dexterity, do not think of getting down from them. Some of them even lie down on the branches to rest.

The example of these Moroccan goats crawling on the branches is another proof of the intelligence and dexterity of these animals, able to adapt to any conditions in order to survive.

This spring, astounded hikers discovered a herd of Alpine ibex climbing nearly vertical walls in the heart of the Diga del Cingino dam in Italy, risking a 50-meter drop.

As with the Moroccan sisters, these alpine quadrupeds risked their lives for a delicacy - leached salt on dam rocks.

Moroccan goats, known locally as Tarmi, have been feeding on the delicious fruits of the argan tree for centuries. In dry, dusty areas, where there is a lack of water and food, the berries of this tree, like chewing gum, attract tarmis.

Tarmis are helped by their cloven hooves. Each hoof has two toes that wrap the tarmies around the branches, giving them balance and grip, and the soft sole keeps them from slipping over the branches. Animals still have two rudimentary fingers, which, like cats and dogs, are located higher, but these fingers have not become weak and unnecessary in the process of evolution; with their help, goats grab onto branches and climb up or go down.

The shape of the crown of the argan tree helps the goats both climb, as they are low above the ground, and jump over them from branch to branch. For goats, it's easier than ever to climb a tree and jump over the fruits as if they were walking up a ladder.

According to what I have seen, ten tarmis on a tree is not the limit, on some trees there were even 16 of them, which can climb to a height of 9 meters.

By nature, tarmis are herd animals, and as soon as one climbs onto an argan, the whole herd tries to follow it. In the same way, it happens in the reverse order, if one of them tears, they all jump off. A member of the British Goat Society, who has kept the goats for over 30 years, says they are very quick to learn new tricks. For example, one of the goats learned to open the gate by pulling out the iron rod from the gate with its teeth. Goats are more independent than dogs, smarter than cats, understand their nicknames and respond to them willingly.

The most agile goats of North America are considered to be, which can live in rocks at a height of 4 kilometers, climbing and descending almost sheer cliffs.

Although goats seem to have evolved to graze trees, now the goats themselves graze them in the trees. Goats, eating berries, leave argan tree bones in the litter. The locals collect these seeds, and from the peeled kernels they make argan oil, which is highly valued, both as a food product and as a cosmetic product.

The raids of goats on thickets of argan trees have recently become so intense that their numbers have begun to decline. Local ecologists are calling for limiting goats eating the trees, allowing the fruits to ripen and fall to the ground, but locals prefer to still get the valuable oil in the traditional way, a small bottle of which costs up to $70.

Morocco is considered the only country where goats graze not on pastures, but on trees. And all because of the lack of pastures in the country. At the same time, goats in Morocco do not belong to any special species. The ability to maintain balance is inherent, it turns out, to all goats.

Introduced to Morocco from other countries, animals quickly found a way out of the situation associated with the lack of pastures and grass.

Goats in Morocco. Photo: Elgaard/commons.wikimedia.org/CC BY-SA 4.0

Whole herds of goats climb trees, and the shepherd with them can only move from tree to tree. Goats are attracted to argan trees, whose leaves and fruits they eat.

The fruits of the tree contain valuable bones that goat stomachs cannot digest. The goats spit them out, and the shepherds collect the bones under the tree.

Argan fruit. Photo: pixabay.com/CC0 Public Domain

Argon oil is made from the seeds, which is valued in cosmetology and cooking.


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