Invasive species specialist Pete Haverson from England is currently on Saba to help with the drafting of a goat controlling plan.
Haverson, who arrived on Saba on Wednesday, September 11 and will stay on the island until Sunday, September 15, has been requested by the Public Entity Saba to assist with a solution for the many roaming goats that cause problems, including the destruction of people’s private property, erosion and damage to the island’s vulnerable nature and ecosystem. Additionally, free roaming goats are generally poorly taken care of by their owners, resulting in severe cases of animal suffering and neglect on the island.
Haverson is meeting with different stakeholders such as goat owners, the Executive Council, the Island Council, the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force (KPCN) and the local veterinarian.
Representatives from the Public Entity St. Eustatius are also on Saba to speak with Haverson and to meet with some of the stakeholders. Here as well is advisor Anne de Boer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV). The Ministry of LNV supports the drafting of a goat control plan for Saba. Haverson and De Boer were in Bonaire before coming to Saba to look at the same problem and to find a solution for the roaming goats in the Slagbaai National Park and other areas of the island.
Haverson explained that his objective for visiting Saba was to discuss the issue of the free-ranging goats, to hear the views of the stakeholders and to get everyone’s input. Based on this information, he will draft a goat control plan that is based on the local situation. The Public Entity Saba is planning to implement the goat control plan in 2020.
There are different sides to the goat issue. On the one hand there is the problem of the damage caused to nature and people’s property, and the fact that the goats contribute to erosion. But goats are also part of Saba’s culture and for the goat owners selling the meat of the animals is a source of income. The law states that goats must be tagged and kept in pens. Goat owners must also take care of their animals so they don’t suffer. Haverson will personally visit several goat owners at the place where they keep the animals to get an overall picture of the situation.
Haverson has been involved in conservation and managing invasive species for over 15 years. He specializes in invasive bird control. He has been instrumental in removing goats from Redonda, a small island close to Antigua. Having worked on many islands around the world, designing biosecurity systems. Aside from removing the goats from Redonda, Haverson has recently assisted in the removal of goats from the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles.