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Sheep start new jobs as Paris 'lawnmowers'

The Local/AFP · 4 Apr 2013, 11:12

Published: 04 Apr 2013 11:12 GMT+02:00

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The four little black sheep left their countryside homes on Wednesday and have begun new careers as ‘park keepers’ in the French capital.

It’s all part of an experiment in ‘eco-grazing’, an effort by Parisian authorities to promote biodiversity, keep down fuel emissions, and avoid the use of machines and chemical weedkillers.

And according to one supervisor, it’s all going well so far.

"The fact that they’re grazing right away means that they're going to get used to this very quickly," Ferme de Paris (Paris Farm) sheep-keeper Marcel Collet told AFP.

The four Ouessant sheep, transported from the island of Ouessant, off the coast of Brittany, have been tasked with the upkeep of a 2000m² green space – the size of eight tennis courts – owned by the French capital’s archives service, in the 19th arrondissement.

The woolly gardeners – known for their stamina and short tails – started their stint on Wednesday, and will be expected to do what they do best, keeping the grounds tidy and free of weeds, until the trial run ends in October.

They will work in three two-week-long sweeps, and between grazing periods, the Breton sheep will be put up in the picturesque surroundings  of Ferme de Paris, according to weekly magazine Atlantico.

If the experiment works, the Ouessant sheep could be kept on by the city and put to work tending to more significant and well-known green spaces such as Bois de Vincennes or Bois de Boulogne, Paris’ two largest public parks.

The Local/AFP (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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