Galápagos Goat War

Countries such as Australia have long been victims to invasive species such as rabbits, camels, goats, cats and other feral animals seriously impacting wildlife and local ecosystems. In Australia feral goats have also been turned into an economic resource. The worlds greatest biological treasure, the Galápagos Islands, the archipelago that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is also in the middle of a battle against feral goats and like most countries that have the same problem in that they consume food, in this case that of the famed giant tortoises.

A sum of some $10 million coming from various private donors and the United Nations is funding the continued culling of the goats. Experienced chopper pilots from New Zealand are being hired to fly above the main island of Isabela, so that shooters can reach goat herds using their .223 calibre rifles and about a million rounds of ammunition (including exploding bullets, telescopic sights, communications equipment) that have been imported from the United States. So far they have killed tens of thousands of goats from the air supported by foot shooting teams with goat-sniffing dogs who also have culled several thousand goats. So far some of the smaller islands and the northern sector of Isabela Island have been nearly cleansed of goats.

The goats got there like many other islands, left by sailors as a food source for those shipwrecked, in this case it was whalers, and the multiplied with an estimated number of around 150,000 wild goats. It's not completely welcome though as local poorer residents eat goat meat and as income source. Live goats bring around $15 a head and they go off to Guayaquil, back in mainland Ecuador. If it saves the Galápagos Islands unique heritage then it’s worth doing I say.

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