Meet These Bizarre Tree Climbing Goats Whose Poop is Turned Into Luxurious Argan Oil
One of the laws of nature states: birds and squirrels live in trees, goats stay on the ground. But no one told these sure-footed billies. For this extraordinary picture shows nine adventurous goats perched in the gnarled, twisted branches of a 17ft argan tree in North Africa. The creatures look as if they have been lifted into the trees by a cherry-picker. But, in fact, the goats are accomplished tree climbers who routinely claw and jump their way up the branches in search of its tasty olive-like berries.
You knew that goats were good climbers – they’re often seen climbing boulders and sometimes even steep cliffs, but have you ever seen one climb a tree? And, in this part of the world, you might easily find a dozen goats standing on the branches of just a single tree. Goats are drawn to the argan’s fruit, which ripens in June each year. They have no qualms about scampering to the top of the 30-foot-tall trees in search of a feast, and will stand on a skinny branch post-nosh, looking blissed out and whinnying softly. The goats then poop out undigestible seeds. Those seeds are then collected, processed and turned into very expensive cosmetics and food. At least that’s the traditional method. Due to an increased demand for the product, the majority of argan oil is mostly manufactured by hand now. The production process doesn’t involve goat excrement with this method. The oil intended for export is produced by women’s cooperatives in the region, who gather the fruit straight from the trees. The branches may sway dangerously under their weight, but the goats remain unflustered by their aerial antics. One even perches on the topmost branch of the tree, his bottom proudly in the air. “This way is harder but the quality is better. And you don’t have to touch anyone’s crap,” according to one of the production workers, Aicha Amsquine. ‘They are pretty intelligent,’ she says. ‘I had one goat that could open gates by drawing the bolt with her teeth. When I had them in pens, she would open the gates of the ones she was friendly with, but would ignore the others.
Still, the goats continue to climb, with the bizarre sight attracting visitors from around the world.