SNCF banks on sheep to keep grass trim

Two sheep have been installed next to a railway line in the heart of Paris so they can keep the grass banks tidy.

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SNCF picked GreenSheep, a company specialising in “eco-grazing”, as an environmentally-friendly solution to taking care of its green space in the 17th arrondissement.

The sheep, watched by shepherd Jojo, have set up home there.

GreenSheep founder Paul Letheux said: “They will stay three years, but usually it’s longer, as the contract is often renewed.” A vet will check up on them from time to time as they watch trains going from Saint-Lazare to La Défense.

It is the expansion of an existing idea as the company’s sheep have already been living next to the Paris ring road for a number of years.

Initially, Mr Letheux studied landscape management but he thought about GreenSheep while taking care of a field near a farm in a rural village. He said: “We thought about trying to put in sheep to cut the grass, and it worked so well that companies around the farm started to contact us.”

The start-up owns more than 1,000 sheep and works in cities and rural areas around France.

They have only Ouessant sheep: “They are small, strong, they can stay outside all year long and do not easily get ill.”

The firm also works with the Paris mairie, La Poste, L’Oréal, Veolia and Décathlon.