GPS collars track goat movements in Mallee parks
Friday 20 September, 2013
Parks Victoria has commenced a research project using GPS technology and other remote devices to track goat movements across Hattah Kulkyne National Park and Murray Sunset National Park.
Project Manager Brendan Rodgers said about 15 goats have been tagged with GPS satellite devices, known as tracking collars, to record goat activity to better understand their movements.
“Feral goats are known to cause significant damage to native woodland vegetation and prevent natural regeneration of woodland species such as the threatened Slender Cypress Pine and Buloke. Due to the Mallee being a vast landscape, there is a lack of information about goat distribution and densities,” said Brendan.
“We are working with specialists and using tracking technology to collect data over the next six months. One of our objectives is to control goats at a landscape scale to further reduce grazing pressure and promote woodland recovery.
“The results will provide more specific information on goat movements and behaviour to enable the development of more effective control measures for the long-term,” he said.
The research is part of a broader plan to restore 80,000 hectares of degraded woodland across public and private land in the Mallee as part of a $3 million project, supported by the Federal Government’s Biodiversity Fund.
Parks Victoria’s long-standing successful partnership with the Sporting Shooters Association has removed more than 6,000 goats from Murray Sunset National Park over the last 10 years. An aerial survey of goats across Murray Sunset National Park late last year estimated more than 8,000 goats still remained in the park. That is equivalent to 1.4 goats per km2.
“This research project takes us into the next phase involving a detailed investigation into goat movement across 500,000 hectares in Murray Sunset National Park, Glencoe State Forest, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and surrounding areas,” said Brendan.
“We need to undertake this kind of research to ensure we can make evidence-based decisions to inform goat management strategies. The investment in the tracking collars for research purposes will assist with goat control including future programs with the Sporting Shooters Association.”
Visitors and neighbours who come across collared goats are urged to leave them undisturbed, and contact Parks Victoria if they are found on adjacent private land.The project is being carried out to research standards, which ensures minimal disruption to the welfare of the animals.
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