Government steps up war on invasive species with new feral goat action plan

Published: December 1, 2023

The Government has released a new plan to tackle the issue of feral goats as it steps up its war on invasive species.

It recommends a range of actions and goals such as new goat control methods including the trial of new baits, and the use of drones and thermal cameras for aerial culling.

Feral goats are found in every state and territory and are a threat to the survival of 128 threatened plant and animal species, including the brush-tailed rock wallaby and eleven species of wattle.

Important ecosystems in some of Australia’s most precious places like the Blue Mountains and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area are damaged by feral goats.

They disturb bird nesting sites, overgraze vegetation and create severe erosion. In the Blue Mountains, feral goats graze on rock shelf vegetation and damage fragile cliff faces.

Feral goats also compete with native animals for food, carry disease and impose significant costs on Australian communities and farmers every year. It’s been estimated that there are over 5.8 million feral goats in NSW alone.

The plan also recommends better data and monitoring so authorities can more efficiently direct control measures, and research into the impact of goats on the environment.

The Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, said invasive species were one of the most serious threats to native plants and animals across Australia.

“Cats, horses, yellow crazy ants, and now goats – we have to deal with each of these threats to give our native species the best chance of survival,” she said. “Goats don’t belong in fragile places like the Blue Mountains and the Great Barrier Reef islands … they compete with native species for food and shelter and water, while trampling over their critical habitats, causing erosion.”

The Invasive Species Council has welcomed the release of the new national plan to tackle feral goats.

“Feral goats are one of the worst invasive species in Australia. They stop regeneration of bushland, overgraze, outcompete native animals, erode our soils and stream banks and reduce carbon storage in the landscape,” said Lyall Grieve, Conservation and Biosecurity Analyst for the Invasive Species Council. “This is an important plan which outlines some ambitious objectives that if funded, prioritised and implemented fully will go some way to reduce the impacts of goats on our environment … the focus on island eradications is particularly important as we know this is achievable and will lead to huge biodiversity benefits.”

Public consultation on the draft Threat Abatement Plan is open until February 7, 2024.

To read it, click here.

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Every goat I see on the roadside makes me think of curry!!!! To some farmers, they are a crop that costs nothing to produce.

Goats are a viable product that havebfinacially saved many farmers. They eat invasive plants, are not as labour intensive as sheep, and should ber mustered instead of killing and left to rot.
Canberra has a massive goat problem

Great idea.

Have a look at the numbers, the damage they’re causing, the threats they are to other native animals and fauna. Why are they not attracting the same airplay as the Brumby?
Got nothing to do with politics, has it?

On that subject goats are a viable proposition in drought affected farmlands and should be managed accordingly as a food source. I can’t say the same thing about cats that cause far more ecological damage to native species and threaten their very survival, but we hear nothing about them from our city based politicians.

Having just travelled the top end – now in WA, we’ve never seen so many goats . Thousands just roaming around , I’d already thought about the damage they must be doing for native life !

I agree with u Lyn . Venturing down sth , west coast WA feral goats in abundance !! Need culling also could be used as substitute supply of a food source

Goats are no different to any other domestic animal. On many properties they form an important part of their management of weeds and they provide a welcome financial return on many properties. To say that they cost nothing to produce is totally wrong. Firstly the grazier has to own the land on which they are running, Then there are all the other costs like providing watering points and associated costs, manpower to conduct the muster, yards to muster into, cost of holding a mob until enough have been mustered to transport them to sale-yards/abattoirs and the cost of that transportation.

The problem occurs when their numbers build up in national parks, forestry reserves and off shore islands and other private and non private land. There is always going to be some wastage when numbers reach a level where culling by what ever means occurs. In many cases it is not economical or practical to muster otherwise someone would be doing it.

Quick note there needs to be a bit of culling down south around Canberra area due to the damage being down basically around the whole country . Agreeing with Bob J ????

About 250 of them that occupy a building in ACT that produces nothing of value.

There’s a few problems with everyone’s comments who believe that goats are a financially rewarding resource.
They were but are no longer, the bum fell out of the goat market and export markets have been severely restricted. The market at its peak was about $9.50 per kg and the last I heard it had reduced to nearer $3.00 a kg.
That coupled with the fact that the abattoirs have either no capacity or no desire to process the animals and the ever-present problems of transport logistics means that goats are quickly becoming the nuisance valve they once were.
These problems are crippling the industry not to mention, has anyone here tried to muster goats? I have and all I can say is, NEVER again.

Who is the Minister for Goats?

Or are they all Goats?

If culling is a solution, instead of leaving them to rot give the meat to those who can use it.

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