Girgentana goats give birth to four kids
Spring is slowly taking hold at Hellabrunn, and with it begins the baby boom at the zoo. The rare Girgentana goats, for example, have already produced four kids this year.
The four recently born kids - Rose, Romina, Ronja and Räuber - are quite active and keep the adult Girgentana in the group at Hellabrunn on their toes. Born between February and April, all four baby goats are half-siblings: they all share the same dad, Mr Montgomery. Girgentana goats are known for their characteristic corkscrew-shaped horns, which can reach up to 80 cm in length in males. At Hellabrunn, Mr Montgomery has the most prominent horns.
The Girgentana goat originates from the Italian province of Agrigento in Sicily. However, the population of this domesticated breed declined sharply during the 20th century. These goats are low-maintenance livestock, but only have a comparatively low milk yield. As a result, their significance in modern agriculture began to wane and the Girgentana were eventually displaced by more lucrative breeds.
Today, the population of the Girgentana goat has largely recovered, thanks to the commitment of zoos and dedicated private owners to preserve agricultural biodiversity. Girgentana goats are now frequently used as grazing animals in landscape conservation. For example, six goats born at Hellabrunn between 2015 and 2016 are currently participating in a grazing project by the Forestry Commission Leipzig to keep the grass low in extensive open green space areas in and around Leipzig.
The Girgentana have been sent to graze in Cospuden Nature Park, a former mining region in the district of Cospuden on the outskirts of Leipzig that is currently undergoing rehabilitation. The Forestry Commission Leipzig estimates it will take up to 150 years for the overburden land at the former mining site to be fully rehabilitated. To achieve this, the land must be maintained and kept free of high growth. This is where the Hellabrunn landscapers come into play.
Apart from Mr Montgomery, there are currently three adult females living at Hellabrunn, as well as the four recently born kids. Due to construction work on the new Mühlendorf village, the Girgentana goats will be on view for visitors in an enclosure between the Jungle World and the baboons.