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The Getty's newest workers - a herd of goats

The_getty_center_gets_your_goat They're baaaack! Goats, that is, hired by the Getty Center to clear the highly flammable hills around the museum. You'll see them in the next few weeks, munching brush and moving easily around the steep slopes.

“The goats keep all the brush out of the waste stream,” said Lynne Tjomsland, manager of grounds and gardens for the J. Paul Getty Trust, told City News Service. “They prevent us from having to use chainsaws and trucks, plus they keep our guys off the steep slopes. It’s a safe way to do a difficult job, and the goats love their work.”

A couple of dogs -- Steve and Boo -- will help keep curious (and hungry) coyotes at bay. Here's a photo of a goat herd that worked at the Getty a few years back. And while goats are perfectly engineered chewing machines, they're also indiscriminate. Environmentalists worry that fragile native plants will disappear along with all that dead, dry brush.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

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