WILD GOATS: Stakeholders and Tower Holdings will meet on December 11 to talk about a pest management plan of the island and to create a solution to the issue of wild goats.
WILD GOATS: Stakeholders and Tower Holdings will meet on December 11 to talk about a pest management plan of the island and to create a solution to the issue of wild goats. Contributed

Tower Holdings to meet over Great Keppel Island wild goats

TOWER Holdings is set to meet with Great Keppel Island stakeholders this month to come up with a solution for the issue of wild goats on the island.

The Morning Bulletin reported last Friday that a number of kayaking tourists had recently witnessed the "frantic bleating of dozens of drowning terrified bloated goats" and "floating goat corpses" in Leekes Creek as a result of the goats on the island eating toxic grey mangroves.

Ya Nga (Great Keppel Alliance) spokesperson Michael Powell visited the island over the weekend to see the extent of the damage for himself and said there were a number of issues linked to the over-population of the goats.

"First of all there's an animal welfare issue because these goats don't have enough food and water to sustain the population," he said.

"There's believed to be between 600 to 800 goats on the island which only has a capacity of 150 goats. I witnessed the bodies of dead goats all over the place and a number of dead baby goats that appeared undernourished.

"There's also the issue of erosion from the goats destroying the land.

"They're grazing the plants into extinction and creating a lot of loose soil which will wash into our river system and ocean that will kill the coral.

"Wiping out these goats with guns is not the solution to this problem; the goats need to be removed in a humane way and they need to be removed sooner rather than later."

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said she had received a number of calls in recent weeks from visitors to the area about their experiences on GKI.

"This is very concerning because it's our reputation and I'm worried about the damage to our reputation as a tourist destination," Mrs Lauga said.

"I spoke with Tower Holdings last week and a meeting has been called for December 11 which will be attended by Tower, Livingstone council, stakeholders, appropriate department representatives and myself.

"One of the key points that will be addressed in the meeting will be for Tower to maintain their lease conditions and create a pest management strategy.

"I got the impression from Tower that they understand it's a problem and that they need to do something about it."

Tower Holdings was contacted by The Morning Bulletin yesterday but declined to comment.



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