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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Migration to control goat numbers
Great Orme goats
Some of the goats are marked ready for the move to Somerset
Wild cashmere goats from Llandudno's Great Orme have been moved to Somerset as part of a continuing project to control their numbers.

The six nanny goats are descendants of the first goats which came to Britain.

The goats were originally maintained by Queen Victoria and used as mascots for the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

However, in recent years their numbers have caused problems and Conwy Council decided to rehome many and put others on birth control.

The latest migration from north Wales to south west England brings the total of goats rehomed since 2001 to 85, leaving just 113 goats and kids on the headland which is a popular tourist attraction.

It isn't an instant solution, but it will be of benefit in the long term
Sally Pidcock, Great Orme warden

Half the goats left in Llandudno have also been given birth control implants, so they will not be able to breed for the next two to three years.

"Conwy County Borough Council resolved to maintain a healthy population of goats on the Great Orme, but to reduce the size of the herd over the long term," said Sally Pidcock, the Great Orme Country Park warden.

"We're achieving this through a combination of relocating groups of animals and through birth control.

Culling

"It isn't an instant solution, but it will be of benefit in the long term."

The project to rehome and control birth rates was decided on after the authority rejected an earlier idea to cull the herd.

There had been pressure on the council to do something about the goat population because they were increasingly wandering into people's gardens despite having enough grazing on the Orme.

"The problem is that getting into people's gardens is a learned thing. It wasn't a case of not having enough grazing, they realised there was something different to eat" said Ms Pidcock.

"And with more goats it wasn't just a case of one or two goats getting into gardens, but whole groups of them.

Conservation purposes

"People were objecting to the culling of the goats, but we have had no complaints in this office from anyone who is against the present project," she added.

In the past the goats selected for rehoming have been caught by herding, but this time the six chosen were caught after being darted.

"The place where we are rehoming them usually specify whether they need males or females, and then we make sure that we choose some which are fit and healthy and not too old.

We also check to make sure that those which are rehomed do not have the implants," explained Ms Pidcock.

Great Orme goats whose ancestors once roamed northern India can now be found in small herds in Kent, North Yorkshire, Brecon Beacons as well as Somerset.

Most of them are used to graze sites for nature conservation purposes.




SEE ALSO:
'Pill' for goats thrown out
30 Apr 01 |  Wales
Fight to keep goats Welsh
19 Sep 00 |  Wales


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