The Daily Flash: Eco, Space, Science (30/09)
2001 -A Galaxy Classic

Galapagos Goats Exterminated: Capricide on a Pacific Island

Puerto_egas_skull If you've ever wanted a job as a professional goat-murderer, sorry, but you've missed your chance.  Now please stay far away from us and try to get some help.  A team of conservationists have successfully exterminated the invasive Galapagos goats on Santiago, completing a four year campaign of capricide on the Pacific island.

The Galapagos goats (or as they were known back then, "just goats") were introduced in the 1920's and they immediately begin eating so much, so hard, that they didn't just threaten the island's species - they threatened the island itself.  Without the plants to hold the soil together erosion accelerated, or put another way, these things eat so hard that the ground goes away.

After initial early victories for the human side the goats turned to guerrilla tactics, hiding in remote or otherwise inaccessible regions of the islands and continuing their grass-munching reign of terror. The war eventually required helicopters, hunters on horse back, secret agents (specially trained goats) and even seduction (thankfully also by goats) to secure final victory.  Expect the Joel Schumacher movie later this year "The Billy Goats Grief: These Kids Can KILL!"

I'm just going to restate that: Helicopters Vs Goats.  And one of the conservationists is called K J Carrion.  This thing writes itself, and it's got some good bad guys - the last thousand goats made those three hundred Spartans look like pussies, lasting for a lot longer than a few days and costing two thousand dollars EACH to kill.

Monitoring of the island has proven that the goats are definitely gone for good and greenery is flourishing once more.  Including the invasive blackberry plant which, now free from its only predator, has started spreading rapidly and is throttling the native life.  Conservationists are already starting to destroy the blackberry plants, possibly while sighing heavily and feeling Sisyphean.

It may just be quicker to nuke the place.

Posted by Luke McKinney.

Galapagos Goat-icide http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090127/full/news.2009.61.html?s=news_rss

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