The History of Goats in Hawaii
Prior to the arrival of Captain Cook, goats were unknown in the Hawaiian Islands. Captain Cook released goats in 1778 and between 1792 and 1793. Captain Vancouver also released a variety of animals that may have included goats. Eventually goats found their way to all the major Hawaiian Islands.
As with just about every other animal introduced to Hawai’i, the original intentions were good but the end result was damage to the fragile ecosystem of the islands. Goats, escaping domestication, quickly reproduced, creating large populations of wild goats that lived in the rugged mountain rainforests and lava fields.
Goats, along with pigs, are responsible for the extinction of a number of native Hawaiian plants. If not well-managed, they forage extensively and will consume almost anything they can reach. Left unattended, they may damage ancient rock-work with their hooves.
Just about every island has goat and pig management. On Big Island goat hunting is allowed year round in some areas and part of the year in other areas.
Goats are easiest to find in the higher elevations – in open meadows and barren lava fields. You can see mountain goats numerous places on Saddle Road, including the lava fields near Pu’u Huluhulu as well as the Pu’u ‘O’o walking trail (both on Saddle Road).
Download a really interesting paper on the history of the Hawaiian Ibex (feral goats) on Big Island Hawaii and in Volcano National Park specifically. The eradication efforts that were made over many years were challenging and seemingly futile.
These little beasts sure did adapt and flourish on the islands! Amazing creatures and useful animals; although good management is key!
LINKY LINKY: Hawaiian Ibex in Volcano National Park
Kona & Kokoleka, Resident Hawaiian Ibex at Goat With The Flow
Kona & Kokoleka came to GWTF as orphans. They were found by hikers at about 2 days of age, on a remote ocean trail, along with their deceased mother, attempting to drink sea water. OH HOW LUCKY THESE LITTLE GOATS WERE! The compassionate hikers gathered them up, called Hawaii Island Humane Society and through a series of hand-offs, they ended up at Goat With The Flow! Now WE are the lucky ones!
The Hawaiian Ibex is nothing like our domestic packers & dairy goats. They are quick & curious. Agile & sharp. They are a joy to watch and sweet in their interactions. Watching them grow side-by-side offers a fascinating compare and contrast with our packers.
We are enjoying every step of their bouncy little journey and:
WE LOVE the well-managed Hawaiian Ibex!