Projects - Roaming Livestock
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.