argan-trees

These goats are perched over 30ft from the ground in a tree and look so out of place you have to do a double take. A staggering 11 goats can be seen standing on branches as high as 32ft in these extraordinary pictures. Although the goats look out of place up this argan tree they are in fact accomplished climbers and can easily scale up and down the thinnest of trees. The billies will go to extraordinary lengths to eat the cherished fruit from argan trees.
Picture: Maurizio Punturi/Solent

Morocco’s Argania trees are infested with goats that eat the nuts and fruits that it produces. Local farmers condone and even cultivate this bizarre feeding practice because after the goats finish eating the fruit and nuts off the tree, they pass valuable clumps of seeds which are then pressed to create the sought after Argan oil.

Know the Difference

Argan = a tree in Morocco whose seeds are harvested to make beauty oil

Argon = the chemical element [Ar] and the third most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere

Aragorn = the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor and the world’s hottest octogenarian 

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Morocco’s Climbing Goats

Goats on trees are found mostly only in Morocco. The goats climb them because they like to eat the fruit of the argan tree, which is similar to an olive. Farmers actually follow the herds of goats as they move from tree to tree. Not because it is so strange to see goats in trees and the farmers like to point and stare, but because the fruit of the tree has a nut inside, which the goats can’t digest, so they spit it up or excrete it which the farmers collect. The nut contains 1-3 kernels, which can be ground to make argan oil used in cooking and cosmetics. This oil has been collected by the people of the region for hundreds of years, but like many wild and useful things these days, the argan tree is slowly disappearing due to over-harvesting for the tree’s wood and overgrazing by goats. (Source: Oddee)

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In Morocco, there is a natural phenomena that occurs regularly across the country - goats climbing trees. The trees bear argan fruit and the goats are very fond of it; farmers follow them around as they climb trees, not just to look at them in amazement as they climb but because the goats are unable to digest the nuts in the argan fruit - when the nuts are excreted by the goats the farmers collect them and produce argan oil from them, which is high in vitamin E and can be used as a skin treatment.

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(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEaAmUDEiGo)

In southwest Morocco, you might actually be forgiven for asking daft questions like “do goats grow on trees?”. Everywhere you look, you will find dozens of goats hanging out lazily from the tree tops, munching absentmindedly like overgrown crows.

Goats are skilled climbers and are known to scale steep rock faces and mountains in search of food. The ones in Morocco climb trees for the same reason – food, which is otherwise scarce in this drought-ridden region. The goats are drawn to the fruit of the Argan tree, which ripens in June each year. The Argan grows to 8-10 meters high and live up to 150–200 years. They are thorny, with gnarled trunks, but the goats, who have been climbing these trees for centuries, have learnt to adapt themselves to the task.

Goats climb trees because they crave that argan. “ The best hope for the conservation of the trees may lie in the recent development of a thriving export market for argan oil as a high-value product. However, the wealth brought by argan oil export has also created threats to argan trees in the form of increased goat population. Locals use the newfound wealth to buy more goats and the goats stunt the growth of the argan trees by climbing up and eating their leaves and fruit “