Annual Sheep March Gathers Crowds in Madrid, Spain

The traditional Spanish Festival of Transhumance returned to the streets of Madrid, Spain, Sunday, October 24, after being canceled the year before due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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READ MORE: More than 1,000 sheep and goats filled the street, diverting traffic from the city center.

The festival, which has taken place since 1994, is a traditional event that sees thousands of sheep "clogging" the main roads of the capital.

The event claims the role of transhumance and extensive livestock farming as a tool for conserving biodiversity and fighting climate change.

Traditional festival dancer Nati Fernandez said there was "no doubt this is a special year" due to the last one being cancelled.

"We are not as many as usual due to people still being afraid, but every year this is a real party," he added.

The festival is also a protest, which aims to call on authorities to protect Spain's 125,000 kilometers (78,000 miles) of paths used for the seasonal movement of livestock among different grazing grounds around the country.

Shepherds look after the ancient grazing routes, some of which are more than 800 years old.

Many worry that the routes are being destroyed by the construction of housing and roads.

For Madrid resident Loli Lopez, this festival is very touching.

"My father was a shepherd, so this brings me memories of when we have them (sheep) at home," she said. (AP)

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