Sheep take over streets of Madrid for annual migration

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Shepherds leading more than 1800 sheep arrived at the Spanish capital, to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of transhumance (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures). (AFP/Oscar del Pozo)
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A flock of sheep walks past Madrid's Cityhall during the annual sheep parade through Madrid, Spain, October 20, 2019. (Reuters/Sergio Perez)
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A flock of sheep walks past Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s famous landmark, during the annual sheep parade through Madrid, Spain, October 20, 2019. (Reuters/Sergio Perez)
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Shepherds guided sheep through the Madrid streets in defence of ancient grazing and migration rights that seem increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. (AP/Paul White)
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A child touches a sheep during the annual sheep parade through Madrid, Spain, October 20, 2019. (Reuters/Sergio Perez)
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A shepherd herds his sheep as flocks of sheep and goats crossed the city center of Madrid on October 20, 2019. (AFP/Oscar del Pozo)
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A flock of sheep walks past Madrid's City Hall during the annual sheep parade through Madrid, Spain, October 20, 2019. (Reuters/Sergio Perez)
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Livestock are driven through the streets of central Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP/Paul White)
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A police officer speaks on her radio as a flock of sheep pass through central Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP/Paul White)
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Flocks of sheep and goats are herded in the city center of Madrid on October 20, 2019. (AFP/Oscar del Pozo)
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A man stands behind fences as a flock of sheep walks past during the annual sheep parade through Madrid, Spain, October 20, 2019. (Reuters/Sergio Perez)
Updated 20 October 2019

Sheep take over streets of Madrid for annual migration

  • The annual event, which started in 1994, allows shepherds to exercise their right to use traditional routes to migrate their livestock
  • The herd includes 2,000 merino sheep and 100 goats

MADRID: Sheep replaced traffic on the streets of Madrid on Sunday as shepherds steered their flocks through the heart of the Spanish capital, following ancient migration routes.
The annual event, which started in 1994, allows shepherds to exercise their right to use traditional routes to migrate their livestock from northern Spain to more southerly pastures for winter grazing.
The route would have taken them through undeveloped countryside a few centuries ago, but today it cuts through Madrid’s bustling city center and along some of its most famous streets.
Sheep farmers pay a nominal charge in symbolic acknowledgement of a 1418 agreement with the city council that set a fee of 50 maravedis — medieval coins — per 1,000 sheep brought through the central Sol square and Gran Via street.
The herd includes 2,000 merino sheep and 100 goats.


Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

Updated 16 November 2019

Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

  • Wildlife ranger Craig Dickmann made a split-second decision to go fishing in a remote part of Northern Australia known as ‘croc country.’
  • ‘That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws’

CAIRNS, Australia: An Australian wildlife ranger has recounted his terrifying escape from the clutches of a “particularly cunning” crocodile, after wrestling with the reptile and sticking a finger in its eye.
Craig Dickmann, who made a split-second decision to go fishing last Sunday in a remote part of Northern Australia known as “croc country” last Sunday, said a 2.8-meter (nine-foot) crocodile came up from behind him as he was leaving the beach.
“As I’ve turned to go, the first thing I see is its head just come at me,” he told reporters on Friday from his hospital bed in the town of Cairns in Queensland state.
Dickmann said the animal latched on to his thigh.
“That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws,” he said.
The 54-year-old said he wrestled with the croc on the remote beach as it tried to drag him into the water.
Dickmann stuck his thumb into its eye, saying it was the only “soft spot” he found on the “bullet-proof” animal.
“Their eyes retract a fair way and when you go down far enough you can feel bone so I pushed as far as I possibly could and then it let go at that point,” Dickmann said.
After a few minutes, he said he managed to get on top of the croc and pin its jaws shut.
“And then, I think both the croc and I had a moment where we’re going, ‘well, what do we do now?’”
Dickmann said he then pushed the croc away from him and it slid back into the water.
The ranger had skin ripped from his hands and legs in the ordeal and drove more than 45 minutes back to his home before calling emergency services.
It was then another hour in the car to meet the Royal Flying Doctors Service who flew him to Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering from the ordeal.
“This croc was particularly cunning and particularly devious,” he said.
Queensland’s department of environment this week euthanized the animal.
“The area is known croc country and people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise,” the department said in a statement.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters long and weigh more than a ton, are common in the vast continent’s tropical north.
Their numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with attacks on humans rare.
According to the state government, the last non-fatal attack was in January 2018 in the Torres Strait while the last death was in October 2017 in Port Douglas.