INDEPENDENT NEWS

DOC Goat Hunting On Conservation Land Underway

Published: Thu 21 Dec 2000 02:06 PM
December 21 2000
The Department of Conservation in Northland is on the hunt for feral goats living on public conservation lands in the region.
Feral Goats are present in moderate to low numbers throughout Northland, with high numbers in localised sites on private land. Their introduction to our valuable and precious native forests has occurred relatively recently as a result of liberations or the escape of farmed goats following a decline in goat prices.
So why do they pose such a threat and why are we so keen to get rid of them?
They are efficient herbivores and can rapidly increase their population by being good breeders. Their browsing destroys native vegetation, opening the understory, and suppressing the germination of native seedlings. Nowhere is safe as goats are able to traverse steep rock faces and rough terrain, areas that may be host to rare plants. Their movements through the vegetation can also assist in the spread of invasive weeds that will take advantage of the openings created by browse.
The Feral Goat is an agile creature and farm fences do not appear to be an effective barrier against their wanderings. The inability to keep goats out makes it difficult to completely get rid of them from conservation areas.
The Department of Conservation’s management of the feral goat populations in our forests is through sustained hunting and control, keeping the numbers as low as possible to reduce impacts on forest values, or where possible to eradicate or remove the population to a zero density level.
DoC is now working hard to reduce goat numbers. The focus is on 12 highly valued areas totaling almost 90, 000 hectares. (can you list them in here please)
The job involves the work of three staff hunters, Eddie Smith, Paul Andrews and Doug Te Wake. They along with specially trained dogs have the job of getting rid of the goats. Their dogs have been trained to ensure they are kiwi safe, meaning they will not accidentally kill a kiwi in the course of their search for goats in the bush.
This year seven of the twelve areas being targeted for goat control are being worked on after being deemed top priority through a special ranking system. The rest will follow later.
To help the projects chances of success the public are being asked to help by being responsible for any goats that they might have on their property and taking all precautions to ensure they are not able to escape.
For more information please contact Sara Barber on (09) 407 8474
LIST OF PLACES HUNTING WILL TAKE PLACE...
Puketi/Omahuta, Waima, Mataraua, Waipoua, Warawara, Raetea, Ahipara,
Herekino, Maunganui Bluff, Kaihu, Te Paki and Marlborough.

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