Feral goat

In Australia, feral goats have been estimated to cause losses to livestock farming of $25 million per year, not including their impact on the environment or pasture degradation. Feral goats also negativley affect conservation values and biological diversity by damaging the vegetation and competing with native animals. Their damage is most obvious and most severe on small islands.

Feral goats are also a resource and commercial exploitation of feral goats is an industry worth about $29 million a year. Many pastoralists in Australia now consider the capture and sale of feral goats to be an essential part of their business. Local eradication is usually only possible on small islands and in some mainland pockets. In most areas, sustained management is required. Managers need to understand the relationship between the density of feral goats and the damage that they cause so that they can determine how to maximise the benefits compared to the costs of management.

Goats arrived in Australia and New Zealand with the first European settlers. Current feral goat populations are descended from these and subsequent animals that were introduced for a variety of reasons. Domestic goats occur on all continents (except Antarctica), but their feral descendants are much less prevalent, occurring widely only in Australia, New Zealand, and on many small islands. In 1993 there were about 2.6 million feral goats in Australia but this number has fluctuated widely under the influence of extended dry periods and the effectiveness of management programs.


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Feral goat control – Standard Operating Procedures

  • GOA002: Aerial shooting of feral goats - Feral goats (Capra hircus) can have a significant impact on the environment and agricultural production and are a potential reservoir and vector of endemic and exotic diseases. Although often considered […]
  • GOA005: Use of Judas Goats - Feral goats (Capra hircus) can have a significant impact on the environment and agricultural production and are a potential reservoir and vector of endemic and exotic diseases. Although often considered […]
  • GOA004: Trapping of feral goats - Feral goats (Capra hircus) can have a significant impact on the environment and agricultural production and are a potential reservoir and vector of endemic and exotic diseases. Although often considered […]
  • GOA003: Mustering of feral goats - Feral goats (Capra hircus) can have a significant impact on the environment and agricultural production and are a potential reservoir and vector of endemic and exotic diseases. Although often considered […]
  • GOA001: Ground shooting of feral goats - Feral goats (Capra hircus) can have a significant impact on the environment and agricultural production and are a potential reservoir and vector of endemic and exotic diseases. Although often considered […]
  • GEN001: Methods of euthanasia - The word euthanasia means an easy death and should be regarded as an act of humane killing with the minimum of pain, fear and distress. Euthanasia of a range of […]
  • Model code of practice for the humane control of feral goats - The aim of this code of practice is to provide information and recommendations to vertebrate pest managers responsible for the control of feral goats. It includes advice on how to […]

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Last updated: June 30, 2016