Feral goats running amok on Great Keppel

There are estimated to over 600 feral goats on Great Keppel Island

Environmentalists are urging the Queensland Government take action to control feral goats they say are terrorising residents of Great Keppel Island.

According to an article on the ABC website, Capricorn Conservation Council staff coordinator Michael McCabe said the goats were initially introduced to the island by seafarers as a food source, but the population had grown “out of control”.

“We estimate now there are over 600 goats on the island … goats cause enormous problems of erosion, their hard hooves damage the soil and the grass and they can also eat out areas,” Mr McCabe said.

“If allowed to keep populating you’ll end up with a much denuded, eroded landscape.”

Long-time resident Brett Lorraway said the goats were wreaking havoc on his garden.

“We’ve never had goats like we have now; they’re in the yard several times a day causing a lot of destruction,” he said.

“They’re coming right up to the house; in fact we had an incident the other day where one came through the back door and caused a significant amount of damage.

“It was quite aggressive, and so obviously with small children around that was something that concerns us.”

Under the Queensland Government’s lease conditions the island’s primary lessee, Tower Holdings, is required to control all declared pests.

However, Mr McCabe said nothing had been done for years and said the Government had also failed to enforce the conditions.

“Our complaints have fallen on deaf ears since the 1990s of a failure of lease holders to comply with lease conditions to have an environmental management plan for goats, rubber vine, lantana, erosion and fire control and the current lease holders are in the same boat and it seems the Government is powerless to act on that.”

A spokesman for the Queensland Government said enforcement of pest control was the responsibility of the local council.

However, Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig said it came back to the State Government because they owned the land.

“Also the leases over there have not been finalised, so I think it’s one that has slipped through the cracks,” Cr Ludwig said.

“I think rather than do finger pointing to see who should have been doing what, we’ve asked all of those landholders to give us a date next week when they can come together and we want to help them put a plan in place.

“Our responsibility is to make sure they’re doing it, and if they can’t demonstrate they have a plan in place obviously we’ll have to take action and prosecute.

“But given the State Government is one of the primary land owners; they will need to be part of the solution as well.”

A Tower Holdings spokeswoman said the developers had prepared a Land Management Plan for the island and had begun implementing it this year with engagement of a weed contractor.

She said the company was planning on removing the goats in the future and had been in discussions with Department of Natural Resources and Mines.




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