'Bloody great job': Keppel local defends feral island goats
GREAT Keppel Island residents would be standing on the beach watching their island be consumed in flames if it weren't for the feral goats.
Two of the island's residents and rural fire brigade members spoke with The Morning Bulletin today after reading yesterday's story with Tom Sjolund who was concerned the goat population had gone gangbusters again.
Mr Sjolund emailed Livingstone Shire Council Mayor Bill Ludwig on Friday night about the issue where populations are expected to have grown by 75 per cent per year since the last cull operation two years ago.
Mr Sjolund, from the Yanga group, told The Morning Bulletin on Sunday the population was expected to be about 800 now "which is unsustainable".
Gerry Christie, who runs Island Pizza, said the goat population was no where near what Mr Sjolund feared.
He said if it was, the goats would be wandering into residents' yards.
Mr Christie and Peter Williams both say the goats are a "godsend" for island residents.
Mr Williams, who owns the dive shop on the island, said the goats who were eating the fire fuel were "doing a bloody great job".
"They are the only thing capable of reducing the fire hazard," Mr Williams said.
He said the island doesn't have the fire fighting resources it had 20 years ago.
"There's only one little rural fire brigade truck with 500 litres (water capacity) on the back," Mr Williams said.
He said all it would take is for one cigarette butt to be flicked into the dry grass and all the people on the island would be standing on the beach watching it burn.
Mr Williams said if the law allowed it, he'd have 20 goats at the back of his property right now for a week to reduce the fire hazard.
"At the moment, they are no where to be seen," Mr Christie said.
"You might see them grazing on the ridge from time to time.
"You certainly could wait a few more years for another cull."
He said before the last cull, there was a drought and the goats were going into resident's yards at the southern end of the island.
An operational plan for mustering the pest species was developed in 2016.
The 2016 joint exercise was carried out by Livingstone Shire Council, Tower Holdings, Department of Natural Resources and Biosecurity Queensland. It saw 146 goats removed from the island in two weeks.
Tower Holdings, under its lease conditions with the Queensland Government, is required to control all declared pests - which the goats are one of - on the island.