Flocks take on fire duties in Costa Blanca

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NATURE’S FIREFIGHTERS: Grazing to prevent forest fires

SHEEP and goats are grazing the Font Roja national park to create natural firebreaks.

Alcoy City Hall has come to an agreement with Eduardo Canto, an organic farmer from Ibi, whose livestock is keeping down weeds and grass.

The flock of merinosureño crosses accompanied by some goats is tended by Agustin Valero, a shepherd from Granada with 34 years’ experience.

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That the flock earns its keep is demonstrated by the amount of hay that they eat.

“Where we used 40 sacks before we now only need one,” Canto said.

The animals return each night to a sheepfold near the park’s Sant Antoni zone and there are plans to gradually increase the present flock of 72 animals until there are 200.

“The number of calls we receive demonstrate that both scientists and ecologists are interested in the project,”Alcoy’s Environment councillor Jordi Martinez said.

“We are preventing forest fires and at the same time reviving an occupation that has practically disappeared from the area.”

The council hopes to extend the initiative to the city itself, Martinez revealed. “We are looking for ways to bring another flock so that they can keep down vegetation in the gullies and even the riverbed.”

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