(New Ulm, MN) – A southern Minnesota state park is calling in a furry friend to keep invasive species at bay.

A herd of goats will soon roam the hillsides of Flandrau State Park in New Ulm, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said in a press release.

The goats may be fun to watch, but they do have a job and a purpose.  The heard will be cordoned off in a 22-acre section to eat – and therefore control – invasive plants in the park.

The DNR says the goats are a chemical-free and cost-effective option to control troublesome plants such as common buckthorn, garlic mustard and dame’s rocket.  Goats love to eat thorny brush and woody vegetation.  They also enjoy poison ivy, thistles, and other plants that other animals ignore, such as poison ivy.

The goats will be cared for, watered, and regularly checked by a contracting goat herder.  A guard donkey or llama may also be present to protect the goats from other animals.

Trails may be temporarily closed while the goats are in the area.

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