Use of the Judas goat technique to eradicate the remnant feral goat population on San Clemente Island, California Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/m039k8852

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  • Feral goat (Capra hircus) populations adversely impact native insular biota and physical habitats worldwide. The effectiveness of the Judas goat technique for eradicating remnant feral goats was studied on San Clemente Island (SCI), California from June 1989 through April 1991. By April 1991, 263 feral goats were killed on SCI; only 2 adult females and their offspring were believed to remain. The length of time required by radio-collared (Judas) goats to establish initial contact with remnant goats was 1 to 5 days, and time to subsequent encounters with new goats averaged 3.5 days. Duration of association between Judas goats and remnant herds ranged from 1-60 days. Judas goat home ranges averaged 4.4 km² and maximum distances Judas goats traveled to find conspecifics averaged 4.8 km. Observations of Judas goats that were associated with remnant feral goats allowed individual identification of most goats and prediction of their temporal and spatial activity patterns. This knowledge greatly expedited the eradication process and likely contributed to the preservation of threatened and endangered endemic species on SCI. Natality, survivorship, and condition of SCI goats were inversely related to decreases in population density when compared to goat populations from other islands. higher and mortality lower than in other feral goat populations, presumably because of the unusually low density of goats on SCI. The Judas goat technique allows removal of low density feral goat herds in a timely manner and should be used by resource managers wherever feral goats threaten native flora and fauna.
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