Hunting goats to limit growth
When settling down from England to Australia, immigrant groups brought a lot of things and animals to help them build new lives in the far away sky. Among the animals they took along, the species proliferates and grows very well.
At the northwest corner of the state with an area of over 630,000 hectares, Murray-Sunset Park is Victoria’s second largest national park. In the past, in addition to the exploitation of salt and gypsum, this was also a place to graze cattle and sheep, but had never been cleared for cultivation because the land was dry with harsh climate. Considered an untouchable place, this vast area was eventually declared a national park in 1991. This is a rare semi-arid forest that is not always live, except except the goat, which was once considered a popular cattle species, thrived in this harsh environment.
Many goats here are quite large, sometimes up to 60, 80 kg / head. Gradually, wild goats became so difficult to control that a few years ago, Victoria Park had to embark on a bold strategy using private hunters. During the summer, on 4 or 5 weekends, a group of volunteers met at Underbool, Mallee village near the southern border of the national park.
Hunting seems to be a powerful and violent means of restraining wild goats. If possible, Victoria Park also uses goat traps, as in areas adjacent to private lands, where they often find water. However, traps are not a viable option in a large area like Murray Sunset National Park, simply because it is difficult to test effectively. In addition, it is unpredictable that the movement of goats and the use of these animals is not feasible, so the best option during the hot summer months is when goats are forced to move to find water. However, this area is too far away. So after many years of testing, Victoria Park relied on the Sports Shooting Association’s force.
Partnerships began at the end of 2003 and the program became more and more effective, the number of goats has decreased significantly. Since the program started, it costs about $ 70,000, but in return the gunners have gained valuable skills, according to Robert McNamara, a veteran forest ranger. After shooting down, they will check the gender, size, … and note everything about the goat.