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Transcript of FERAL GOAT
BY GRACE ARMSTRONG SE2
Biological Control System
Feral goat populations tend to recover well from culling and, except on islands, eradication is usually not possible. To protect the environment, control is best focused on areas that contain threatened native plants, animals and ecological communities.
The best way to prevent feral goats from damaging the natural environment is to muster them into a large space to provide a safe space for the goats, by doing so it will cause no harm to the land and the feral goats. Although mustering them into a large space will come with an expense, the goats will not be harmed in any way and they will be able to live a healthy and happy life away from damaging the environment.
Another way to prevent feral goats destroying the land is to kill them off naturally by bringing in another animal (ex: fox) to prey on the goats. By doing so, you will be able to permanently extract them from the land.
The feral goat is a sub-species of goat descended from the wild goats of southwest Asia. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep; both are in the goat-antelope sub-family Caprinae.
There are over three hundred distinct breeds of goat. The present Australian feral goat population is a mix of Angora, Cashmere, Anglo-Nubian, British Alpine, Saanen and Toggenburg breeds.
Feral goats are native to Europe, Asia and Africa, goats have been domesticated for thousands of years. Domestic goats are valued for their meat, milk and fibre, and their ability to exploit land that is otherwise inaccessible or of low productivity. Goats were brought to Australia by the First Fleet in 1788, and were introduced to inland areas by early settlers, miners and railway construction workers.
Today, Australia has about 2.3 million feral goats, most are descended from cashmere and angora breeds, with 80% of feral goats producing cashmere.
Feral goats can cause major agricultural and environmental damage. They compete for pasture, damage fences, and reduce the profitability of pastoral and agricultural industries
Feral goats like to feed on the highest quality plant food available, such as: grass, leaves, twigs, bark, flowers, fruit, roots, plant litter, seeds and fungi. Despite their tendency to select high quality foods, they are known to also consume many plants which are toxic, spiny and bitter which other animals are likely to avoid.
An average sized goat requires between 2-4.5 litres of water per day depending on temperature. They are also capable of surviving in areas with limited permanent fresh water. This does contribute to the mass surviving population of feral goats.
All domestic and feral goats come from common ancestors which traditionally had a breeding season spanning two to three months over the autumn to winter period. Current populations of feral goats can breed all year round; however there still tends to be a peak in breeding during autumn with less in spring.
Feral goat breeding is influenced by environmental factors including drought, population dynamics, food and water availability. Twins and triplets are relatively common in both domestic and feral goat populations however the average litter size is approximately 1.6. Because feral goats can breed all year round, this gives the species a consistent population. But this sometimes result in over population.
Feral goats cause land degradation through soil damage, over grazing and strip browsing. The soil's crust and its protective cover of vegetation are disturbed through trampling by the goat's hooves. Feral goats can impact on terrestrial native animals. Goats compete with many animals species for food, water and shelter. Goat dung around water ways, together with goat carcasses that have fallen into the water, is likely to affect water quality.
Feral goat populations affect long lived plants by eating established plants and preventing the recruitment and growth of seedlings. Goats are capable of climbing trees where branches and trunks are on suitable angles, enabling them to graze much higher than a kangaroo or sheep
- The electrification of wires with standard energizers has been successfully used to modify existing fences to hold goats.
- Helicopter or light aircraft are often used to flush goats out of rough country. It has been estimated that an experienced highly skilled pilot can muster 80% of goats in an area of rough hills.
- Shooting feral goats from the ground is most successful in the more open pastoral areas, especially when goats are forced to visit water points.
- Goats can be trapped near water if alternative watering points are not available. Traps consist of goat-proof fence surrounding water point that is entered through one-way gate or ramp. Traps can also be used to manage domestic stock. May be possible to close off troughs and dams and direct goats to central watering point. Trapping using food as attractant has been unsuccessful.
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