Pygmy Goats

 

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Uluru Goat Mountain

 

One of the fun new exhibits in the Aussie Walkabout is Uluru Goat Mountain.  This mountainous exhibit is home to the ever popular pygmy goats! 

Bring your family to meet some of these cute little climbers. 

How can something as cute as a little goat cause so much trouble? 

Australia's wildlife lives in a perilous balance on a continent that constantly teeters back and forth between droughts.  Along comes Western explorers with their domestic animals and boom...big trouble. 

Goats have escaped from various corrals and pens to run wild among the Australian wildlife.   In some instances it is believed that the goats were intentionally released for hunting purposes. 

Once the goats escape they are considered Feral animals, the damage caused by these unwelcome invaders has been catastrophic in some areas.  To learn more about feral goats click here.

 

 

Meeting some of our goats can be a wonderful experience for children of all ages.

 

 

 

 

 Baby goats are always adorable!
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The History of Feral Goats in Australia

 

The feral goat has established populations in a variety of habitats across Australia.  It competes with native fauna and causes land degradation, threatening plant and animal species and ecological communities.  The feral goat can be an agricultural pest but also has commercial value and is harvested for its meat.  To protect the environment Australia has Feral goat control programs that are targeted towards areas of high conservation value.

Goats arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788. As they were small and hardy, ate a wide range of plants and provided milk and meat, they were convenient livestock for early European settlers.   During the 19th century sailors released goats onto islands and some areas of the mainland for emergency food.  Certain breeds were imported for their hair.  More recently goats have been used to keep plantation forests and inland pastoral land free of weeds.  Feral hers developed as these domestic goats escaped, were abandoned  or were deliberately released. 

Feral goats now occur in all Australian states and on many offshore islands but are most common in the rocky foothills, and semiarid areas of western New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.  The latest survey taken in 1996 estimates there are over 2.6 million feral goats living in Australia. 

In areas where dingoes and wild dogs are present the feral goat populations are kept in check.  However they are often found in sheep-grazing areas where dingoes and wild dogs have been removed or heavily controlled by pastoralists. 

Feral goats live in hers and although males and females live separately for much of the year they share about one square kilometer under good conditions but a larger area when food or water is scarce. 

The two groups only mix together during the breeding season in autumn and winter with females becoming sexually mature in the first year.  Feral goats can breed twice in a season with twins and triplets being common. 

Feral goats have a varied diet of leaves twigs bark flowers fruit and roots they will eat most plant types in pastoral regions and often consume vegetation that is avoided by sheep or cattle.

Feral goats have a major effect on native vegetation through soil damage and overgrazing of native hers grasses shrubs and trees which can cause erosion and prevent regeneration.  The foul waterholes and can introduce weeds through seeds carried in their dung.  Particularly during droughts feral goats can compete with native animals and domestic stock for food water and shelter.  For example they may threaten some yellow footed rock wallaby populations by competing for rock shelters and food leaving he wallabies exposed to a greater risk of predation by foxes and wedge-tailed eagles.