Environmental issues

Pests and weeds

Feral goats

Goats were introduced into Australia with the First Fleet, and many more have been imported since then. Wild populations have become established, by goats escaping from farms or being abandoned by farmers when they have become unprofitable.

Feral goats are rated by the NPWS as a high priority pest issue, because they:

  • eat native plants
  • compete with native animals for shelter
  • damage Aboriginal heritage sites.
In Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, NPWS research has shown that feral goats cause significant damage to the dry rainforest communities in the Macleay gorges and significantly increase soil erosion.

Feral goats are also hosts of many sheep diseases, including ovine foot rot, Johne's disease and parasitic worms. They are also a potential host of foot and mouth disease if it ever gained entry into Australia.

Page last updated: 26 February 2011