New rules introduced to manage feral goats on Banks Peninsula

New rules requiring land occupiers to ensure their goats are identifiable and fenced appropriately to prevent them escaping reflect the declaration under Canterbury’s Regional Pest Management Plan (CRPMP) that feral goats are a pest on Banks Peninsula.

Goats have been problematic on the Peninsula for many years. Environment Canterbury principal advisor biosecurity Laurence Smith comments: “On some properties, goats have been released to control gorse and left to breed, resulting in increased numbers.

Due to inadequate fencing, they have escaped and created problems for neighbouring landowners. The ownership of these goats is not always clear, and they are often destroyed to ensure the adverse impact on farming and indigenous biodiversity is minimised.”

Why are they a problem?

Feral goats can damage fences, compete with livestock for pasture, and transmit disease and weeds.

Goats browsing can remove palatable native species and prevent forest recovery and regeneration in Banks Peninsula’s significant mosaic of protected areas.

Management control

More than $500,000 has been spent removing feral goats from Banks Peninsula in past years.

To protect this investment, the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust has teamed up with Environment Canterbury, Department of Conservation and Christchurch City Council to form a Goat Working Group, the collaborative aim of which is to work with land owners to eradicate feral goats on Banks Peninsula.

The group plans to work through specific areas of the peninsula over the next five years, following on from an initial successful removal programme in the Little Akaloa area.

What do the new rules mean for me?

The new CRPMP rules will be implemented over time. “Landowners have the choice to either continue farming goats or not. In the end, each individual landowner will have to decide which choice is the most viable economically,” said Smith.

If landowners decide to continue farming goats, they must ensure all goats are identifiable and fencing is of a standard which prevents any spread to adjoining properties.

In the interim, Environment Canterbury will remind landowners of their obligations when goats stray on to adjoining properties and begin the process of ensuring CRPMP rules are adhered to.

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