The Goat Tree
The Argania tree, also known as the Argan tree, is a species endemic to Morocco and is revered as a symbol of the country's rich ecological heritage. Despite its less-than-attractive appearance, rough, thorny bark and gnarled, twisted branches, the Argania tree is highly valued for its unique properties. Its fruit, Argan nuts, is rich in oil that local communities have used for centuries for culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Argania tree is its association with hordes of goats. During the fruiting season, typically from June to August, goats climb the trees to feed on the nuts. This is a remarkable feat, considering that Argania trees are not only tall, but their branches are also thin and often sharp, making it difficult for humans, let alone goats, to climb them.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not just a goat climbing a tree. It is not uncommon to see dozens of goats perched precariously on the branches of a single tree, munching away on the nuts. While this may seem like a strange sight, the association between the Argania tree and goats is a mutually beneficial one. The goats help to disperse the seeds of the Argan fruit, which in turn helps to regenerate the tree population.
Overall, the Argania tree and its unique association with goats continue to fascinate and intrigue people worldwide.
In Morocco, local farmers have adopted a unique feeding practice for goats that has been around for centuries. They keep the goats away from the argan trees while the fruits and nuts mature, allowing the trees to grow undisturbed. When the fruits and nuts are ready, farmers release the goats at the right time to feed on the trees. This ensures that the argan trees are not damaged and that the goats can access a valuable food source.
But there's more to this practice than meets the eye. Once the goats eat the fruits and nuts off the tree, they pass valuable clumps of seeds in their poop. These seeds are then collected by the farmers and pressed to extract the highly sought-after argan oil. This oil is used for its numerous health benefits, as well as in cooking and cosmetics.
Thanks to this unique feeding practice, the argan trees can thrive, and local farmers can provide for their families by selling valuable argan oil. Additionally, the goats can feed on a nutritious food source, which helps keep them healthy and strong. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.
As the demand for tree goats rises, the population of these remarkable climbers has been escalating steadily in the region. However, this has significantly decreased the health of the Argania trees that provide them with shelter. It's a shame that the widespread fascination with these cute creatures could potentially cause damage to the environment. We can only hope that these nimble goats won't consume all the leaves and branches of the trees, leaving them barren and unable to support their weight.
Although illegal, some scammers tie goats to trees all day in the hot sun, hoping to trick you into giving them money when you stop for pictures. If this happens, it's best to leave immediately. This is the only way to send a message that animal cruelty is not acceptable and should not be rewarded.