Jan 13, 2016
Jan. 13, 2016
Westminster pilots search for lost herd of Boer goats from the East African Refugee Goat Project of Utah
SALT LAKE CITY -
A herd of Boer goats recently went missing from a local refugee organization-and Westminster College's Aviation Department helped track it down. More than 25 goats from the East African Refugee Goat Project of Utah-in partnership with the International Rescue Committee-escaped from their pasture at North Pointe Ranch in Salt Lake City, and the organization called upon Westminster to help with aerial search efforts to find them.
Using one of the college's Cessna 172 aircraft, two pilots from Westminster set off on a search mission for the missing goats on January 12. Flying at approximately 500-feet above ground, the Westminster crew searched the vicinity of 7200 West and I-80 by the Salt Lake International Airport-where the herd was thought to be lost. Their aerial efforts were unsuccessful, however, less than an hour after the flight landed, search crews on the ground found the missing goats in the northeast area of the grazing site.
"We understood the goats were very important to our local refugee communities, so we were happy to help with the search efforts to find them," said John Schaefer, chair of Westminster's Aviation Department. "I'm pleased that our aerial efforts helped narrow down the search area for the crews on the ground and that the missing goats were ultimately recovered."
The goats are from the East African Refugee Goat Project of Utah, which was established in 2013 to create economic opportunities for refugees from the Burundi, Somali Bajuni and Somali Bantu communities. Located just west of the Salt Lake City International Airport, the goat herd is moved between fields using high- intensity, low duration grazing techniques on invasive and overgrown weed patches. Grazing is a main source of revenue for the Goat Project: portions of the goat herd are rented to landowners to clear fields and manage weeds, not only ridding the land of the overgrowth but also proactively preventing field fires.
Additionally, the Goat Project sells goat meat commercially for the community, fostering new economic opportunity by generating income for empowerment projects chosen by the refugee communities.
For more information on the Refugee Goat Project, click here
For more information on Westminster's Aviation Program, visit www.westminstercollege.edu/aviation