In Australia the damage caused by feral goats to farming has been estimated at $25 million each year. Their impact upon native vegetation and the environment in general is estimated to be even higher and long term damage such as soil erosion is believed to be irreparable. Feral goats compete with native species such as the Yellow-footed Rock-Wallaby for food, water and shelter and in times of drought will eat vegetation that native animals rely upon to survive.
They foul water sources, driving out livestock, with estimates putting their consumption at 3.5 litres per day per animal. The average lifespan of the feral goat is approximately 10 years, in which time they will consume on average 1.8 kg of vegetation (native or pasture) per day.
Feral goats have become a valuable industry to some pastoralists, but it is argued that their monetary value is far less than the long term value of the environment.
Arkaba Station: goats just don’t add up, Brendan Bevan, Across the Outback, Natural Resources, SA Arid Lands, Nov. 2015, Issue 75, p. 14.
Properties measure goat damage, Trish Mooney & Rob Brandle, Across the Outback, Natural Resources, SA Arid Lands, Nov. 2015, Issue 75, p. 15.