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Old 03-31-2013, 12:49 AM
 
Location: Kahala
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So, did a day trip to Kona - saw some whales in the ocean by the park right near the airport - so, kind of cool, but I also saw a lot of wild goats (and lots of little goats) - and then saw the sign - donkey crossing next 2 miles - then more goats hanging out -

It got me thinking - what do these goats do for food and especially water - I saw the donkey sign but no donkeys - It is so barren with so little water and vegetation - I probably saw at least 50 goats roaming free - what do they drink especially in the summer? And, were they common 10 years ago - or more common now?
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:02 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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They drink from some ponds and such below the highway is what I hear. From what folks tell me, the donkeys, and one would suppose the goats as well, go above the highway to browse and then go below the highway for water which is why the donkey crossing signs are on the highway. They've also been hanging out in the Waikoloa yards and causing trouble over there eating up people's landscaping. If you drive up through Waikoloa around dusk you are likely to see donkeys, the goats are pretty much visible any time of day.

Occasionally, folks round up the donkeys and find them homes away from the highway, I've never heard of them doing that with the goats. Last year, they shipped some of the donkeys to California.

The donkeys, also known as "Kona nightingales", were originally used to pack the coffee out of the coffee orchards, dunno how the goats got there. Depending on the last round up, there are either more or less of them around. There have seemed to be more goats lately, though.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:48 AM
 
Location: Volcano
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Captain Cook released goats on the Island of Hawai'i in 1778 and again between 1792 and 1793, and they've been a serious ecological problem ever since. They're tough, and they're sure footed enough to go almost anywhere, and they can eat almost anything that grows... some say they can eat almost anything... and they're prolific breeders. So they've been competing with native species for ecological space, and mostly winning ever since. Eradication attempts at Volcanoes National park have figured them for a 38% increase per year, so regular teams of sharpshooters have only succeeded in reducing their impact, rather than eliminating it.

But yes, as Hotzcatz said, they need water, normally from streams and rivulets and rainwater catching in ruts and hollows, but with the drought the last few years they've become more desperate, raiding stock ponds and watering tanks, further aggravating the water shortage for ranchers and farmers.

Donkeys are a newer immigrant, being brought to Hawai'i for use as pack animals around 1825, to haul the various agricultural products that were beginning to be marketed. For example, donkeys were used to haul taro out of the Waipeo Valley via the steep road that is still a major challenge to navigate.

Feral donkeys, descended from escaped farm animals gone native, have been a part of the landscape ever since, especially around Waikoloa for some reason, where they are known as Waikoloa Nightingales (because of their frequent braying). Or generically, as Hotzcatz said, as Kona Nightingales.

Then a couple of years ago the drought started pushing them down out of the forest and into farms and people's yards in search of forage and water. So there was a big roundup organized, and about 600 animals captured in 2011. The males were castrated, the females injected with birth control drugs. 100 of them were flown to California by the American Humane Society. The rest were released back to the wild... but without the ability to reproduce. Since then their apparent numbers have been reduced somewhat. They don't seem as common as they did a couple of years ago, but that may just be a temporary lull.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:13 AM
 
Location: Kahala
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Interesting, thanks for the replies. I was more intrigued by the goats - there were so many (dozens) in a very arid area including so many that were clearly just born and you start wondering where they get water.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:37 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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I think they get a lot of moisture from the grasses they eat. Which is partly the reason why they are by the side of the road. Extra water runoff on the sides of the road make for more and wetter forage for them. There has been an increase in their numbers lately, though. At least it seems so since they are much more visible than they used to be. I'm starting to see the occasional feral sheep, too, which didn't use to be common at all.

I know a lot more pig hunters than goat/sheep hunters, although you see the occasional mounted goat's head here and there.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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We see multiple herds of goats when we drive down to Manuka Bay near Ocean View. It is all lava there, unless you go several miles to either the highway or the ocean, with little pockets of scraggly trees. We often wonder what they eat and drink.

They are very nimble and run quite fast over the a'a.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Volcano
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A friend who raises goats says that they have been raised in arrid areas for millennia because of their ability to go 2 - 3 days without water. They are said to have the ability to inhibit their own urination to conserve water. This allows them to forage far from their water source.

They are also legendary for their ability to feed on the skimpiest of vegetation... moss, lichen, small sprouts... as well as to stand on their hind legs to strip leaves off of trees, and bark as well, if there are no leaves. They'll even eat dead leaves.

This is why they are such a successful invasive species, why they are so destructive, and why they are so difficult to control.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
A friend who raises goats says that they have been raised in arrid areas for millennia because of their ability to go 2 - 3 days without water. They are said to have the ability to inhibit their own urination to conserve water. This allows them to forage far from their water source.

They are also legendary for their ability to feed on the skimpiest of vegetation... moss, lichen, small sprouts... as well as to stand on their hind legs to strip leaves off of trees, and bark as well, if there are no leaves. They'll even eat dead leaves.

This is why they are such a successful invasive species, why they are so destructive, and why they are so difficult to control.
I'm thinking .243 with a 12x scope.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:56 PM
 
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I love the wild goats up here in Waikoloa!
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Volcano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Rossi View Post
I'm thinking .243 with a 12x scope.
There are periodic roundups organized when the numbers get out of control. Sharpshooters in the National Park are known to have shot hundreds in a day. The problem is that they never get them all, and then the goats they miss breed very rapidly and the population bounces back quickly.
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