Camp manager plans to shoot goats
A campground manager in Queen Charlotte Sound will head into the bush with a rifle to help control wild goat numbers after the tourist season.
Department of Conservation Momorangi Bay camp manager Wayne Foley got his gun licence before last Christmas and he planned to shoot wild goats after summer because residents and campers felt there were too many chomping on bush in the area.
Nearby Ngakuta Bay residents also raised the matter at their community association's annual meeting last month.
The association asked the department to get rid of the goats which had been spotted chewing leaves along Queen Charlotte Dr, but it could not afford to step in until a large-scale upgrade plan for Momorangi Bay began later this year.
Mr Foley, who with wife Helen has run the camp for the past two years, said though they felt they had not been there long enough to gauge whether the goat numbers were increasing, he planned to help solve the problem.
"I got a gun licence before last Christmas and, hopefully, I plan to go into the surrounding bush behind the camp and shoot goats once the tourist season's over.
"We've had a lovely summer, the weather's been great and there's plenty of people enjoying the place, though there's definitely a noticeable number of billy goats in the area, eating the low vegetation.
"They're pretty shy, they'll run if you get too close, but last winter they came down into the campground to eat the grass."
Ngakuta Bay Community Association secretary John Aldridge said the number of wild goats seemed to be increasing and residents were concerned the "pests" were destroying the bush around their homes.
"We asked [the Conservation Department] if they could help control the numbers but they didn't have room in their budget.
"I think they're just a nuisance - I guess these days people are just having to take more and more responsibility for what's around them out here."
He had heard goats bleating in the bush around his home at the bay and other residents had shared similar experiences but there were no reports of goats entering people's properties.
"They're quite destructive animals, they eat a lot of bush and people see them as pests like they do possums."
Visitor and historic assets programme manager Mark Nelson said DOC was planning goat control as part of a wider plan to rebuild the Momorangi Bay campsite and surrounding area during the next two years.
"The whole forest canopy around the bay is actually quite sick, it's been burnt off for farming so many times."
The native bush started regenerating in the 1960s and the department was planning a large-scale programme to help it with the assistance of campers and residents planting trees.
Goat control would come under part of that plan but not in the immediate future, Mr Nelson said.
The Marlborough Express