A feral goat management strategy is currently being developed for Boorabee and the Willows IPA incorporating the local knowledge, on ground skills and observations of the IPA rangers with the expertise of pest management consultant Brad Nesbitt. The development of the strategy and implementation of on-ground works are being supported by the Firesticks Project as part of its integrated fire and vertebrate pest management program.
The IPA is interested in developing an ongoing goat-trapping program that can provide an income stream for the IPA. It will also reduce feral goat density to relieve grazing pressure on endangered flora and allow fuel levels to increase to the extent necessary to allow control hazard reduction burns to be carried out in the area. The aim of the management program is to assess the size of the goat population and develop techniques to catch and remove the animals in the most effective and humane way.
A small goat trap paddock is under construction by the IPA rangers using an existing paddock with some modifications including the addition of ring lock fencing and spears gates. Infrared cameras have been set up by IPA rangers on goat licks to assess goat numbers in locations nearby the trap paddock.
Infrared cameras have also been set up on molasses licks placed in picnic shelters that goats have been using near the Severn River gorge. If goats continue to use the shelters they may be modified into temporary goat trap yards with spear gates molasses licks and syrup as a lure.
Implementation of the plan has commenced on the IPAs and good progress has been made so far. A recent transect survey in the vicinity of the trap paddock recorded 5 herds of goats, totalling 58 goats. The rangers will continue to work with Brad Nesbitt using the infrastructure and techniques they have developed, with the hope that the feral goat population will become less of a problem in the near future.