Feral Goat

Also known as:

General description

Similar to domestic goats. Fur colour may be white, black, brown or any combination of these. Eyesight, hearing and smell are well developed and both sexes can have horns.

• Call is a 'meh' rather than a 'baa'.
• Leaves and shoots are cleanly cut up to 2m above ground. Browsing sign can be confused with deer (which can browse higher) and possums (which tend to shred leaves). They tend to bite off twigs or tufts of grass 20-30cm back from the tip.
• Droppings are small, round and similar to sheep and sika deer.
• Footprints will show paired hooves with pointed tips.
• In the forest, heavily grazed and often steep areas that may be eroding are often a sign of goat presence.

Widespread in native and exotic forest and also found in poor pasture and scrubland. Being very agile, they can exploit places that deer and sheep cannot reach. Becasue of their ability to digest roughage they thrive in areas other animals will abandon. Tend towards sunny and dry rather than wet and shady places.

Social animals that live in herds of up to 20 with one dominant male, females and juveniles. Females breed once a year generally producing one kid.

Very destructive animals in native forests. Prefertially browse ferns, rangiora, puka and mahoe so when goats are abundant, these species are likely to be absent. Prevent regeneration on steep, naturally eroding sites. Vegetation, fauna and land stability are all degraded by their presence.

Site management

Areas of high conservation value require regular culling programmes to ensure that goat numbers are keep at a very low level. Goats will migrate to areas for food souce, so it is important to ensure that areas continue to be monitored even after a flock has been removed.

Recommended approaches

1. Please consult your local Biosecurity Officer for advice on your situation. Usually an organised approach is required so that animals aren't scattered.
2. Fencing areas of value may also work but fences must be to very high standard.

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

RPMS status

Animal Pest - Whole Region
feral goat - Main species image