by Staff Reporter
ONE British, two German and one Spanish animal protection groups will call on tourists not to visit the Balearics in protest at what they describe as a “massacre” of wild goats, planned by the regional government.

As reported in the Bulletin on July 31, the regional government considers it necessary to cull some 30'000 of the 40'000 wild goats in mountain regions on the island, because they are destroying vegetation in the Tramuntana and Levante mountains and upsetting the ecosystem.

It is claimed that by grazing they prevent areas devastated by forest fires from recovering.
In order to reduce the number of goats gradually, the Balearic government will allow private estate owners who obtain the necessary permits to advertise themselves as “game preserves”, in an attempt to attract hunters from all over the world, Antoni Gómez, the director general in charge of hunting, said.

Following this situation, the four environmental organisations say they will launch an international campaign via internet, in which they will ask tourists not to visit the islands as a means of protesting at what they describe as “this barbarous idea of the Balearic government” to get rid of animals by “mass shooting.” The protest is being spearheaded by the Spanish group ANPBA (National Association for the Protection and Welfare of Animals) which invites all those who wish to join the campaign to send e-mails to the Balearic government as well as the Spanish tourism offices in Britain, Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

If the number of goats has to be reduced, then the associations call for more humane methods of control such as the use of anaesthetic darts or sterilising darts.

ANPB also described the Balearic government's intention to organise hunting trips in the mountains as “absurd and inviable” as most of the animals are female and not male, and so their heads are not classified as hunting trophies.

Antoni Gómez claims that studies by the environment ministry show that the optimum number of goats in the islands in order to maintain the balance of the ecosystem is between 11'500 and 12'000, although at present there are about 40'000.

Hunters can already obtain permits to shoot a certain number of wild goats in public preserves, and this will now be extended to private estates.
The Balearic government also claims that the wild goats have bred with domestic animals, and the cull will help it in its programme to protect native species.

The native Majorcan goats have short, thick hair with clearly defined black stripes.

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