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 a pest, feral goats are also an important resource, harvested commercially, primarily for meat. Control methods include trapping, mustering, exclusion fencing, ground shooting and shooting from helicopters.

Radio-collared ‘Judas’ goats are used to locate groups of feral goats that are difficult to find by other methods. This technique involves attaching a radio-collar to a feral goat and releasing it with the expectation that it will join up with other goats. Goats are particularly suited to the Judas method as they are highly social species and will seek the companionship of any other feral goats in the area.

Once the position of the feral herd is established, the goats accompanying the Judas animal are either mustered or destroyed by shooting (refer to Mustering of feral goats, Ground shooting of feral goats and Aerial shooting of feral goats for further details on these methods of control). The Judas goat is usually allowed to escape so that it will search out other groups of feral goats. Once eradication is acheived the Judas goat is located, and then shot and the radio-collar retrieved.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) is a guide only; it does not replace or override the legislation that applies in the relevant State or Territory jurisdiction. The SOP should only be used subject to the applicable legal requirements (including OH&S) operating in the relevant jurisdiction.

Author Sharp, T.
Date 19/12/2012
Year 2012
Pages 6
Notes GOA005
Control method Judas Technique
Region Australia - national
Documents GOA005: Use of Judas goats  [430 kb PF]