Goats were introduced to New Zealand in the early days of European settlement for food, to establish a commercial fibre industry, and for weed control on developing land. The descendents of those that escaped or were deliberately released thrived in the country's grass hills, forest and scrubland areas.
Feral goat in a tree
Feral goats now occupy about 14% of New Zealand - about half of this on public conservation land. The total population size is unknown but is estimated to be several hundred thousand. The Coromandel Peninsula contains a significant amount of public conservation land, feral goats included.
The Peninsula Project, an inter-agency project, has successfully reduced goat numbers to near zero on the western side of the Coromandel Ranges over the last six years, close to 5000 goats were shot during that time. The removal of goats allows the forest to regenerate this in turn helps to prevent soil erosion.
The Waikato Regional Council and Department of Conservation (DOC) are undertaking goat control in the Waiwawa Catchment in the eastern ranges to avoid reinvasion. Hunting teams comprising of both DOC staff and contractors will systematically cover the area of operation from September 2011 to March 2012.