Date of this Version
Proc. 15th Vertebrate Pest Conf. (J. E. Borrecco & R. E. Marsh, Editors) Published at University of Calif., Davis. 1992.
The goat (Capra hircus) was first introduced into Western Australia (WA) over 100 years ago and since this time have been liberated and become feral. Feral goats are now found over much of the semi-arid and arid pastoral areas of the State and as uncontrolled grazers cause significant damage to the rangeland. The use of commercialisation as a control strategy to induce landholders to reduce feral goats has been used. This strategy is appealing for several reasons. It requires little government involvement from agencies responsible for pest control, resulting in low public costs. It returns immediate, tangible profits to landholders for the control effort and it utilizes the pest as a resource, making the programme more acceptable to some individuals. However, it is now clear that a commercialisation policy has not been successful in reducing overall feral goat numbers and the consequent damage. Some reasons for this include; commercialisation requires the creation of an infrastructure to handle the product; immediate economic returns from feral goats become long-term cash flows; longterm benefits are not considered; individual control is undertaken rather than co-operative programmes; feral goats are not included as part of the landholders domestic stocking rate entitlement. If such a policy is to continue it will not achieve the long term objective of eradication. A feral goat eradication programme has recently been instigated in Western Australia by the pastoral industry. Although, commercialisation is to be used to remove the bulk of the population, such a strategy cannot be used on a long-term basis and follow-up control must be undertaken if the objective of the programme is to be achieved. The prolonged use of a commercialisation policy will result in the preservation of a species rather than the elimination of it.