Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Black sheep working for their keep in Paris

Paris has enlisted four black sheep as part of a pilot project to 'mow' the lawns of some gardens in North East Paris.
Eco-efficient and petite in size, the four legged lawnmowers are Ouessant sheep named after a small island west of Brittany.
"Animal lawnmowers are ecological as no gasoline is required," says a sheepkeeper, "they cost half the price of a machine. And they're cute."
Between April and October, these new park workers will graze grounds the size of eight tennis-courts in three two-week-long sweeps in a move to promote biodiversity and make the grooming of the capital's green areas more sustainable -- replacing both chemicals and lawn mowers.
On their time off, they will rest back at a farm on the outskirts of Paris.
And if the pilot project proves to be a success, it could extend to other neighbourhoods across the city and perhaps even other cities.

Sheep at the Eiffel Tower? "I can imagine this very easily in London and New York ... even Tokyo," said Fabienne Giboudeaux, Paris City Hall's director of Green Spaces. "And why not have them at the Eiffel Tower?"
The ovine-operation follows a successful stint last year by two goats that were hired privately by the Louvre to mow the lawn at Tuileries, central Paris' grand 17th-century gardens.
Parisians may worry that sheep droppings could ruin their pristine city. But Alain Divo, the director of Ecoterra, a French company that hires out sheep and goats, says the poop crumbles away in days to an odourless, inoffensive powder that serves as potent fertiliser for the grass.
Hiring goat and sheep lawn mowers is now a booming business. In fact, a number of French urban shepherd companies have sprung up over the years.
According to Ecomouton, it currently has 260 sheep working the premises of top companies such as Gaz de France. And with interest coming from Britain, Germany, Belgium and Russia, he has plans for Ecomouton to expand his operation to more than 600 sheep by the end of 2013. Or as the sheep would say 'Baa Baa'
Cara - Tuesday

1 comment:

  1. The idea makes a lot of sense, Cara. Farmers also use pigs to devour the roots of felled trees. Now if only the PIGS could root out corruption...