July 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM ET
If you're flying into San Francisco International Airport anytime soon, don't be surprised if you see a strange sight: goats.
SFO is using goats to eat up dry and excess grass along property near the airport, in order to reduce fire risk.
The herd of 250 to 300 goats will be there for a couple of weeks, according to airport spokesperson Charles Schuler, as part of its annual organic weed abatement program.
The animals are brought over from Sycamore Farms in Watsonville, Calif., about 80 miles from the airport.
Schuler explained that using chemicals or heavy machinery to clean up the land was "out of the question" because of the sensitivity of the habitat. Two endangered species — the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog — are on that property.
A goat herder and environmental biologist are on site to make sure there are no negative environmental impacts.
Across the bay, the University of California Berkeley has used goats, but Tom Klatt, the campus' environmental projects manager, said the animals are "not necessarily benign," since goats can trample protected animals.
Goats are nothing new at airports. Seattle-Tacoma International, near Seattle, also used them several years ago, but airport spokesperson Perry Cooper said they stopped using the animals because "it was not cost-effective."
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