Feral Goats

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by ellaschultz
Last updated 8 years ago

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Science
Subject:
Animals

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Feral Goats

Feral GoatsBy Ella Schultz

Introduction of Species

Control

Food & Hunting

Habitat

Future Impacts

Goats were first introduced to Australia in 1788 during the first fleet and were brought into inland areas by early settlers, miners and railway construction gangs as a resource for food and their milk. They also providied both milk and meat. In the 19th Century feral goats were set free on islands and on mainland by mariners to make sure that they had emergency supplies of food. In the end they found their way into the wild either through deliberate release or escaped.

Basic Facts

Feral goats are found over most of Australia, commonly found in rocky terrain that provides safety from pursuing predators such as humans or wild dogs. Feral goats look for a home or shelter that has rock overhangs, caves, thick trees dense scrub, plenty of ideal food species and water. However they don’t like rainforests, wetlands of desert areas.

Capra Hircus otherwise known as feral goats are found over 28% of Australia with 2.6 million in Australia, numbers fluctuate massively over drought. Feral goats usually weigh somewhere between 130 to 300 pounds, they have thick fur which is normally white, red, black, brown or gray. Both male and female have horns but males have considerably bigger ones than females also both sexes can be bearded. Feral goats have 24 molars on the top and bottom in the back of their mouth. The pupil of a goats eye is rectangular unlike other animals which are round, the most common colour being either yellow or brown, blue coloration is a bit rarer. The behaviour of a feral goat is that they are sociable, lively, nosey, intelligent, easily bored, tough, hard to confine, resilient and independent animals.

Feral goats have caused an estimated $7.7 million of economy destruction in Australia every year and also damage agricultural systems and native vegetation and culturally damage foundations of bush tucker and contest with live stock. They also damage fences and create serious diseases e.g. foot and mouth disease. They also cause soil erosion and invade the bush and look through a wide selection of native and introduced plants. They can also climb trees and break the limbs from 3m off the ground. Trapping is used in hot weather to draw the goats to the water then trap then in fenced in areas. Shooting is also used to try to reduce the numbers of feral goats, they either shoot from the ground or in a helicopter.

Feral goats are herbivores which mean that they only eat plants. They often browse until they find the food they want, except if they are starving then they will eat garbage or clothes. They favour grasses, plants, weeds, shrubs, herbs, fruit, roots, flowers and even seaweed on the coast. Feral goats will practically eat any plant including a poisonous plant called prickly acacia which is dodged by sheep and cattle. A goat’s stomach is divided into four compartments for processing tough plants. When in drought they are forced to enter farm areas and eat the farmers crops.

If Australia doesn't control goats now then they will breed more and more feral goats and then they will over populate. If they over populate then there will become more diseases, not enough food left for other animals, farmers will not have enough crops, some animals might go extinct and they will ruin the environment for other animals. Also then there would be a lack of food water and shelter for other animals.

http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/documents/Biosecurity_EnvironmentalPests/IPA-Feral-Goat-PA18.pdf http://www.feral.org.au/pest-species/goat/http://www.saalnrm.sa.gov.au/Portals/8/Policy_Planning/Other/SAAL-Feral_Goat_Management_Framework-122008.pdfhttp://feralscan.org.au/feralgoatscan/pagecontent.aspx?page=feralgoat_resoucesthreats to plants and animals by Kimberley Jane PryorIntroduced plants and animals by Kerry Davieshttp://www.wicklowmountainsnationalpark.ie/FeralGoat.htmlhttp://www.feral.org.au/pest-species/faq/feral-goat-faqs/http://adl.brs.gov.au/data/warehouse/mvpfgr9abr_001/mvpfgr9abr_0010111a/ggchap1_6.pdf http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/publications/pubs/feral-goat.pdfhttp://huntingclubshoalhaven.org/game/goats/

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