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TARGET SPECIES FOR CONTAINMENT

Domestic goat (Capra hircus)


costa-riserva-amrina-tavolara
Family: Bovidae
English name: Domestic goat
Brief description:

A target for population control, the Domestic Goat is a mammal in the order Artiodactyla and the family Bovidae. A descendant of the Wild Goat (C. aegagrus), domestic varieties are quite variable in terms of size, coloration, and general aspect.

Biology and ecology: This highly adaptable species can survive in extremely arid environments, where it feeds on plant material discarded by other domestic bovines. For this reason, it can live on small islands.
Distribution and impact on biodiversity: Although its ancestor, the Wild Goat, occurs in the Near and Middle East, the domestic goat is found worldwide. Feral goats are found on many islands the world over. The feral population of goats currently living on Tavolara was presumably introduced in recent times, after 1950. A previous population of feral goats, introduced far earlier, became extinct in the first half of the 20th century. The island’s vegetation is evidently impacted by the excessive number of goats, as can be easily seen by the failure of the goats’ favourite food plants to regenerate (e.g. the Montpellier Maple Acer monspessulanum) and the spread of nitrophilous plants, which are tied to goat dung, at high elevations on Tavolara. Although precise population estimates are lacking, several hundred goats are thought to be present on the island. Due to its significant negative impact on natural vegetation and ecosystems as a whole, the goat has been included among the planet’s worst 100 invasive alien species, and has been the target of countless eradication efforts.
Main references:

• Masseti M., 2009c – The wild goats, Capra aegagrus Erxleben, 1777, of the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic Ocean islands. Mammal Review, 3: 141-157