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? Well, in the southwest of Morocco, they do. These tree climbing goats haven’t just decided to enjoy a bit of mischief. And, in this part of the world, you might easily find a dozen goats standing on the branches of just a single tree.
The trees are Argania spinosa, or argan, a species endemic to Morocco and a small region of western Algeria. 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.
Photo Credit: Grand Parc – Bordeaux, France via Slate.com
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.
“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.
Still, the goats continue to climb, with the bizarre sight attracting visitors from around the world.
If you want to find out more, check out the video below: