Tuesday 21 May 2019

Morocco tourist site with 'tree-climbing' goats may not be all it seems

 

Local farmers appear to be bringing the goats from other areas and forcing them into the trees before charging tourists to take photographs. Stock Image
Local farmers appear to be bringing the goats from other areas and forcing them into the trees before charging tourists to take photographs. Stock Image

Raf Sanchez

Visitors to Morocco have long flocked to the roads outside Marrakech to take photographs of the goats which climb into the low boughs of the argania tree in search of its sweet fruit.

Such pictures are widely shared on social media and often decorate the pages of guide books to Morocco.

But an investigation by Aaron Gekoski, a British environmental photojournalist, has uncovered that the tourist destination seems to be an exploitative scam.

Local farmers appear to be bringing the goats from other areas and forcing them into the trees before charging tourists to take photographs.

When the goats tire from balancing on the branches they are brought down and new goats are substituted.

"After seeing tourists' interest, some farmers decided to manipulate the situation for financial gain," said Mr Gekoski.

"I heard they even brought goats in from other areas, built platforms in the trees and now cajole the goats into the trees, charging tourists to take photographs.

"They will take the goats home in the late afternoon, before coaxing them back into the trees at sunrise.

"The goats are incredibly nimble when it comes to navigating the trees, though generally they just stand in one place, looking rather sick and forlorn. All the tourists who visited seemed blissfully unaware though."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News