Goats chow down on poison ivy at Sandy Hook, NJ - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Goats chow down on poison ivy at Sandy Hook, NJ

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NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

A small army of goats is helping with poison ivy control at Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook, N.J.

Part of the area is so infested, it has inherited the title of Poison Ivy National Monument. The plants have overtaken the Sandy Hook mortar battery that defended New York Harbor during World War II.

"What we're trying to do is control the amount of vegetation on the battery itself," says park ranger Pete McCarthy.

The National Park Service asked Larry Cihanek, of upstate New York, to bring some of his goats to Sandy Hook.

They sent 400 emails to all of the goat owners in the state. 8 responded. The other seven said it couldn't be done and I've been doing it ever since," Cihanek says.

He brought 11 goats that are all around 6 months old. He and his wife owns 365 of them at their farm. The goat graze and eat the poison ivy.

"I think about 20 percent of the vegetation is poison ivy," Cihanek says.

One thing to point out: even though the goats are here, the park rangers want you to know this isn't a makeshift petting zoo.

"These goats are walking around in poison ivy all day and if you pet them, you'll get poison ivy on your hands," Cihanek says.

The goats will continue eating the vegetation until October.

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