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WCC culls feral goats to preserve environment

Sep 28th, 2012 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Latest News, News


CULL AREA: 1800 goats shot south-west of Wellington City.

ALMOST two thousand feral goats have been culled and left to rot in the south-west of Wellington city to protect the environment.

Wellington City Council says it has shot a total of 1800 goats over the past year in the Makara-Ohariu area, towards the west coast.

The council says it is necessary to increase the region’s biodiversity and help replenish native habitat.

Community Engagement and Reserves Manager Amber Bill describes goats as: “a major pest.”

“We are trying to protect biodiversity values in that area, which means we need to control the number of goats,” she says.

The aim is to try and restore the indigenous forest which was cleared and farmed, according to the ‘Feral Goat Eradication for South West Wellington – External Funding’ report.

Trees such as tawa, rimu and northern rata were destroyed by the activity, with large areas reverting to scrub.

WILD GOATS: major pest to the environment.

The report states: “The areas of scrub will in time become native forest”.

Local landowners have been supportive of the idea as there has been a shift in recent years from traditional livestock farming to carbon farming, which aims to produce carbon credits through vegetation growth.The Council has hired professional hunters to perform an “on ground-based hunt” in an area broken into three core management blocks, sweeping from east to west.

Ms Bill says the dead goats are left where they are shot and are not moved unless they have fallen into a river or onto a public track.

“It is written in the contract [with the hunters] to leave them there,” she says.

“There are time constraints and concerns around health requirements about the recovery of the goats.”

Health and safety issues regarding the removal of dead goats, along with time constraints, means the professional hunters must leave the bodies where they are shot.

However, Karori nurse Liz Millward (left) is sickened by the thought of leaving the carcasses to rot.

She says it could attract other unwanted pests if the proper hygiene and safety

Te Aro retail manager Ivana Boese (right) says leaving dead animals to rot is wrong and “very gross” as it could attract other pests and vermin. requirements are not adhered to.

Christian Olliff (left) from Paekakariki says culling is sometimes necessary, but adds there is a “sense of brutality” about leaving the goats to rot.

Chief Inspector Ritchie Dawson of Wellington SPCA agreed with the council that shooting is a “humane method of euthanasia”.

“Provided it is carried out by experienced operators who know what they are doing,” he says.

However, Mr Dawson adds a word of caution regarding the offspring left behind:

“Extreme care must be taken by the hunters to ensure young kids are not left to starve because the nanny has been destroyed.”

Secretary of the Creswick Valley Residents’ Association Paul Barker agrees the goats need to be eradicated as long as it is done in a safe manner.

“There are significant numbers of feral goats in areas such as Karori Hill en route to Makara,” he says.

“Because of the risk to regenerating native vegetation we are generally supportive of initiatives to eradicate feral goats.”

Retiree from Mount Cook Elvin Gabbitas (right) says he used to walk his dog around the Makara area a few years ago and said there was very little sign of goats in the area.

“If they are there and causing a nuisance, then by all means cull away. But leaving them there for someone to see is wrong.”

The Department of Conservation website states goats inhabit 14% of New Zealand.

The Council’s three year plan to eradicate feral goats is through the first stage and currently under review.

The Wellington Environmental Health Officer was unavailable for comment on the issue.

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  1. Who bought goats to this country in the first place ? humans of course and now they are being demonised as a “major pest” . Im not denying that they love to munch on native trees , because they do , but just how much damage do they actually wreak on native fauna? This is point that is open up to debate , but in this country they just love to “cull” , a nice word for kill.
    I take exception to this statement –
    Chief Inspector Ritchie Dawson of Wellington SPCA agreed with the council that shooting is a “humane method of euthanasia”.

    Oh really , euthanasia is done with consent , why gloss this over , its just killing and furthermore have the SPCA been present on a shoot to ensure it is humane? would they care ? or, in their eyes are they just a nuisance pest that deserves all it gets ?
    “Extreme care must be taken by the hunters to ensure young kids are not left to starve because the nanny has been destroyed.”
    Now , this is really common , alot of people around the country have bought up kids that have been next to their shot mother and im one of them. How low is it to shoot their mother when they face starvation !
    OK , i might be biased as i have pet goats and two are feral that i bought up from a kid as their mothers were shot , they make wonderful pets but i am a tad over the attitude towards feral goats in this country.

  2. Yeah leave them alone, let them do their own thing, and while we are there let’s leave those poor cute opossums alone.

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