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BIZZARE: In Morocco, Goats Climb Trees

educateyourself
By educateyourself | self meida writer
Published 7 months ago - 1327 views

There is this particular quote common among my people, it says, “A traveler is more experienced than the one with grey hair.” Undoubtedly this has been proven to be true. Just that moment you think of an aspect of your culture which you thought was extreme, going to another location may leave you in agape.

While goats are not so known to be tree climbers, this North African country, Morocco would have a different opinion. Reading further would make you understand why it is so.

If you would want to be fascinated by goats, then, visiting Agadir and Essaouira in Morocco would leave you with a memory of life.

The Argania spinosa commonly referred to as the argan tree is typical of the argan forest (this forest had protected Morocco against increased dessert encroachment) in southwest Morocco. A prickly and thorny tree which produces a fairly small fruit. The fruit’s seed is within a nut, which further surrounded by soft flesh and a tough outer skin.


Argan Tree


The argan tree is of good use in both culinary and cosmetics purposes, as the nut of the argan tree is used to produce argan oil which is highly sort after across the world. Aside the cosmetic and culinary purposes such as hair and skin care products, it also possesses several medicinal properties.


Argan fruit

Aside the multiple use of this tree, the site of hordes of goats dotting the tree especially during the late spring and early summer would be worthy to behold. This tree can also be found in Algeria, some parts of Israel and Jordan, but Morocco has the highest dominance of the argan tree.

From year-to-year, the argan tree serves as a source of employment for thousands of people in Morocco.

Each year especially in June, the argan tree produces fruits pulp which attracts the goats to the trees. The cloven-hoofed goats will keep all hooves firmly on the ground and graze on low-hanging fruit, once they’ve gobbled the easy-to-reach produce, they will in an acrobatic manner climb the tree as if they are in an understanding with the tree in search for more fruits. These fruits are not consumable by humans.

They also eat the leaves of this tree. The goats cannot digest the nuts. They strip away the skin, devour the pulp, and swallow the whole nut which will be passed out during excretion or through vomiting. These nuts are then gathered for the production of argan oil. People who gather to crack these nuts open and then, roast, ground or mash the kernels to produce argan oil. This used to be the traditional means of producing the oil. 

Recently the women most especially manually do the work which is laborious and high labour demanding. The journey to mechanization is still in progress as the kernel is delicate and could be damaged in the process. This is an obvious reason why the argan oil is one of the most expensive in the world.

The argan tree climbing by goats had become so obvious to farmers who would use it to make money from trooping tourists who visit to see this amazing happening. In fact, the farmers encourage the goats to climb the tree so that tourists could pay. This had led some farmers to invest more in the purchase of goats which they rear for this purpose.

The heights of these trees ranges between 8 – 10m (26-33 fts) and its life expectancy could be up to 200 years.

It may be an exciting sight to behold when you see goats climbing this tree, but it would have a terrible effect on the height of the tree if it is excessively climbed. 

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