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Projects - Roaming Livestock Project

Although it is illegal, many animals (cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs) are left to roam on St Eustatius public and private land. During a long period of drought in 2002-3, many of these roaming animals were attracted to the only vegetated area of the island - the Quill / Boven National Park. As a result, since 2003, National Park rangers have observed tremendous damage caused by roaming animals, in particular goats. Goats are particularly fond of eating plant shoots and young trees and this has contributed to the loss of native trees and undergrowth.

A survey of roaming livestock determined that there were large numbers of goats in the National Park. A project commenced in early 2005 to increase public awareness about the issue, inform the public that goats in the National Park would be killed, and to go ahead with the shooting of goats. After much consultation with the Island Government and Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, a public announcement was aired in June-July 2005 to advise the public that they should remove any of their animals from the National Park before Rangers started to shoot goats in August 2005.

There have been some major setbacks affecting the planned cull. Firstly, delays were encountered with the purchase of a suitable gun. The gun was purchased in September 2005 and brought to St Eustatius but immediately confiscated by the Police Department as it did not have a permit. A gun permit had been approved in principle by the Island Government, and a permit application submitted in September. The gun permit was then finally issued in March 2006 but to a staff member who has not been active therefore no goats have yet been killed. A further gun permit application has been submitted and the project is on hold until the permit is issued.

 

Goats in the Boven sub-sector