The famous tree-climbing goats of Morocco, subject of countless pictures and blogs, may not really be what they seem, according to a British photojournalist who claims they are an exploitative scam.
The popular belief is that the goats climb into the Argania trees to eat their fruit. But Aaron Gekoski claims that the goats are brought from other areas and forced to climb the trees, where they stand while visitors pay to take their pictures. When they tire from balancing on branches, he says, they are brought down and the next crew of goats are positioned.
Although the tradition certainly has a real origin, the goats on display seldom move or eat while in the trees, and are subject to high heat. Under normal circumstances, the goats would seek cooler, shadier locations.