Arctic Willow is a prize winning goatling, an adolescent kid who is by turns stroppy, feisty and beguiling. Over the last six weeks I have been photographing her, which is not without its challenges because she’s in constant motion.
Animals are certainly one of my “subjects” and I try to go beyond the furry cuteness to catch a sense of the being itself. In Artic Willow’s case, she’s such an in-your face- flamboyant diva that she overwhelms you with her “beingness”.
However, goats are also famed for their “devilish” qualities. Or, as a farmer recently remarked to me on Facebook, “Goats are just like sheep only evil”. But Arctic Willow is far too much of a drama queen to be called evil… although maybe, just possibly there’s a hint of the dark side along with the endless mischief.
A little of the ancient history of Willow’s sort
Goats are among the earliest animals domesticated by humans. The most recent genetic analysis confirms the archaeological evidence that the wild Bezoar ibex of the Zagros Mountains is the likely original ancestor of probably all domestic goats today.
Neolithic farmers began to herd wild goats primarily for easy access to milkand meat, as well as to their dung, which was used as fuel, and their bones, hair and sinew for clothing, building and tools. The earliest remnants of domesticated goats dating 10,000 years before present are found in Ganj Dareh in Iran. Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in Jericho, Choga Mami, Djeitun and Çayönü, dating the domestication of goats in Western Asia at between 8000 and 9000 years ago.
Studies of DNA evidence suggests 10,000 years BP as the domestication date.