Effects of feral goats (Cupru hircus) on island ecosystems

Feral goats (Capra hircus) are implicated in habitat destruction, and alteration of species composition on sensitive insular ecosystems. In the absence of population control, goats have become the ecologically dominant species on many islands with the results that numerous endemic plant species have been extirpated, or are threatened by excessive grazing. It is demonstrated that removal of goats can lead to rapid recovery of suppressed vegetation. The problems associated with excessive numbers of feral goats have rarely been studied or formally recognised. Extensive and intensive research is critically needed if affected island ecosystem are to be preserved or restored.


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