Galapagos Invasive Species:
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Santiago is goat free: Eradication of feral goats on Santiago Island

Feral goats Following the successful eradication of goats on Pinta island by the Galapagos National Park (GNP), and as the first step towards the eradication of goats from the north of Isabela, it was decided to use Santiago Island as a preparation ground, where park rangers could perfect the systematic hunting of feral goats, and where the hunting dogs could be trained. To this end, the GNP and the Charles Darwin Foundation created the bi-institutional initiative “Project Isabela”.

Santiago island lies in the centre of the Galapagos archipelago, Ecuador, with a land surface of 586 km2, and the highest point at 902 m above sea level. The principal invasive species problem on this island is the presence of introduced feral goats (Capra hircus), causing enormous changes in the native and endemic flora and fauna of the island.

With the objective of eradicating the introduced goats, between December 2001 and June 2004 a total of 37,350 hours were worked, in 60 field visits, during which all the feral donkeys and 90% of the goats were eliminated. Two helicopters assisted with aerial hunting.

At the end of June of 2004, 122 “Judas goats” were released (Judas goats carry radio collars to allow detection of conspecifics) to initiate the final phase. Currently, only monitoring work, via radiotelemetry, is being carried out with the Judas goats . In addition, work is also continuing in the eradication of blackberry and other introduced plant species.

The proposed goal of the GNP is to declare Santiago Island free from goats and donkeys by the end of 2005.

Source: Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation.

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This website was created on 25 October 2004 by PT and JK