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Goats replace weed whackers in Hyde Park

One of the four goats deployed in Hyde Park pauses to reflect on the task at hand.

One of the four goats deployed in Hyde Park pauses to reflect on the task at hand.

Goats like to eat poison ivy; humans like to avoid it. The opportunities for synergy, as they say in the business world, would appear endless. On Wednesday, the city deployed four goats to clear a large infestation of poison ivy and other invasive plants at the West Street Urban Wild in Hyde Park. The process is expected to take eight weeks — a far faster timetable than many Massachusetts public works projects. Once the goats have finished, they will return to their farm in Plympton, leaving behind a more accessible park.

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The project, paid for by the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation, is a good experiment in low-impact landscaping, and also a good opportunity for Bostonians to get a little closer to nature. One of the most heartening trends in the city in recent years has been the return of animals, both domestic and wild. Boston has been visited by wild turkeys, bald eagles, and the occasional mola mola. Keeping hens is now legal in certain areas. Animals add to the richness and variety of the city. And for neighbors who may bleat about the goats’ noise — would they prefer the roar of a weed whacker?

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