Saba: Goat Buy Back Project

The 2013-2017 Nature Policy for the Caribbean Netherlands flagged the threat of invasive species as a high priority, with recent inventories documenting no less than 211 exotic alien species in the Dutch Caribbean (MinEZ 2013; Smith et al, 2014). Invasive species are regarded as one of the most significant ecological threats to islands worldwide as they can decimate the islands’ native flora and fauna (Smith et al, 2014; Debrot, 2016). Roaming livestock introduced to the region in the 1700s has become one of the most significant ecological challenges for the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands (Buurt & Debrot, 2012; Debrot, 2016). Saba is home to a wide range of forest habitats such as cloud forest and succulent evergreen shrubland that are rich in rare and endangered plant and animal species and these habitats are threatened by overgrazing caused by free-roaming goats. Thanks to generous funding from The Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs through the Nature Fund, the government of Saba has led a 3-year project to cull most of Saba’s goat population and offer goatowners a viable economic alternative in return.

This news-item was published in BioNews 9-2017.

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