About 150 goats arrived at Brackenridge Park on May 18 as part of the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department's and the Brackenridge Park Conservancy’s effort to reduce overgrown vegetation across 7 acres.

The BPC partnered with the city department to introduce the goats as an effective, eco-friendly and sustainable solution to vegetation management.

According to a news release, the goats will help to clear unwanted or undesirable plant species and remove extra brush around Brackenridge Park’s wilderness area along Brackenridge Way. This will eliminate a need for commercial mowing and use of herbicides, the release said.

Another benefit, according to the release, is that goats are natural climbers, adept at scaling areas that are deemed unsafe or unsuitable for humans and heavy machinery.

Additionally, park visitors may see the goats in action through the end of May, but are not allowed to engage the goats in any way; the goats will be contained in designated areas via portable electric fencing and managed by a goat wrangler, the release said.

“This idea was brought to us by the Houston Arboretum, which is in its third year with bringing goats to control vegetation around their ponds and savanna,” said Joe Turner, Brackenridge Park Conservancy executive director. “Eco-friendly solutions to managing Brackenridge Park may be just the beginning. If this project is successful, it could be considered for other city parks.”

Conservancy Project Liaison Charlotte Mitchell praised the company Rent-A-Ruminant Texas that is partnering on the park goat initiative. Rent-A-Ruminant Texas uses goats as an alternative to traditional land clearing, chemicals or commercial mowing.

“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time. Over the years, nonnative species have taken over part of the park due to limited city funding. With the help of these goats, we’re able to address dense overgrowth in a natural and eco-friendly way,” Mitchell said.

According to the release, a large portion of the goat herd comes from animal rescue or private adoptions and includes eight different breeds. San Antonio Animal Care Services reviewed and approved the permit for the contracted livestock operation, which permits humane use of the animals to clear vegetation at Brackenridge Park.

The Alamo Heights Terrell Hills Garden Club is providing sponsorship of the goat initiative, the release said.