Discussing the San Clemente Island goat breed is endlessly fascinating for me. It is a breed that has a special history, in which the goat's ancestors are still unknown. Their genetics stand out as being so unique, it is unlike other goat breed's genetics. Because of these things and more, preserving the San Clemente Island goat breed is important for current day farmers and for the future.
In another San Clemente Island goat blog, I'll dive into details on their genetics and how they can be used to possibly help goat farmers worldwide.
The history of San Clemente Island goats in short form is this. Some goats were left on the San Clemente Island, off California, around 1875. From there, it was survival of the fittest. The population grew, and technically became an invasive species. In the 1980s, there was an eradication program created. To exterminate all SCI goats due to the damage they were doing to the island.
After multiple rescue operations, different groups of SCI goats were taken off the island and placed into the care of multiple people. These stories are fascinating within themselves! After time, some breeders started to organize under a registry. The registry itself has gone through many owners that had their own ways of operating the registry.
There is a lot of bumpy history for the goats, with whole herds being lost.
After all these hurdles, today's current situation is still rough but making excellent progress. The creation of a member owned breeders' association, the San Clemente Island Goat Breeders Association, helped to give a much needed, member run and owned platform.
What does all of this have to do with the title, "Are These Goats Feral?"
These goats were indeed feral on the San Clemente Island and is part of their history. Once these goats got into the hands of humans, and started to be cared for in a domestic setting. These goats are no longer considered feral. To refer to them as such could lead to a negative view on this goat breed.
Granted, I have around fifty SCI goats. Generally they do not behave like other, long domesticated goat breeds. They are far more independent than other goat breeds I have raised or dealt with. Goats are individuals, so of course some goats are far more friendly than others. That's true across the board for livestock in general. But these goats couldn't care less about me unless I have buckets of grain.
This independent nature is something I appreciate. They aren't wild, I can still handle them for health checks. And I have been milking San Clemente Island goats since 2014. Providing routine and positive reinforcement helps develop trust. And these goats still need all the basic care any goat would need. Like proper minerals and diet, health checks and hoof trims.
Calling these goats feral just isn't true. They have been cared for by humans for almost 40 years. There are no longer any feral San Clemente Island goats on the island. This is a beautiful, hardy, multipurpose breed of goat. Perfect for people that want that type of animal for their farm. Or if people want to start participating in conservation breeding. Helping to grow healthy goats and preserving lines is always needed.
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