An attempt to eradicate feral goats from Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a 1455 ha World Heritage Site in the Pacific Ocean, about 700 km off the east coast of Australia. Feral goats became established soon after human settlement in 1834. Goats were removed from the northern part of the island in the early 1970s, but remained in the more rugged southern mountains despite efforts to eradicate them. A new plan to eradicate the goats was developed in early 1999 and an attempt made to do it later that year. This paper reports on how well the plan was matched by the operation. In the plan we used previous hunting tallies, kill rates, and guesses at rates of increase, to estimate that about 200 goats were present in 1999. To put all these animals at risk in one eradication campaign we estimated that both aerial hunting from helicopters (50 hours) and ground hunting with dogs (220 hunter-days) would be required, at a cost of NZ$107,000. The campaign began on 6 September 1999 and finished on 15 October 1999 during which time 295 goats were killed, 189 by the aerial hunting and 106 by the ground hunters. Eradication was claimed after the operation, but reports of fresh droppings and footprints were made in late 2000 and three goats were seen in 2001, one of which was shot in June 2001. Attempts by animal liberation groups to stop the programme, and a subsequent attempt to prosecute the hunters highlight the need for careful planning and management of animal welfare issues.

Author Parkes, J. P., Macdonald, N. and Leaman, G.
Date null
Year 2002
Secondary title International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives
Place published Conference Location
Publisher IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group
Pages 233-239
Notes Notes
Control method Shooting
Region NSW