FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2004 For More Information:
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Rafe Boulon: (340) 693-8950 x 224
PLAN ADOPTED FOR CONTROL OF GOATS AND SHEEP
Arthur Frederick, Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent, announced today the adoption of
a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Goats and Sheep i/ i/thi Virgin Islands National
Park, a long-range plan for minimizing impacts from this feral, non-native animal species within
the Park. That plan has been finalized and approved by the Southeast Regional Director of the
National Park Service.
Completion of the plan culminates a 12-month public planning process and represents the third
time in the Park's forty-seven year history that there has been a comprehensive approach to
managing non-native animal impacts on natural and cultural resources in the Park.
Rafe Boulon, Chief of Resource Management at Virgin Islands National Park, explains.
"Introduced species such as goats and sheep, pose a serious threat to the Park's natural resources,
long-term management programs, and visitor health and safety. The program is termed a
'sustained reduction' because once the goat and sheep populations are reduced to low levels; the
smaller populations will be held at or below that level. The proposed control program mirrors
similar programs throughout the world and is needed to meet a variety of Federal and Territorial
laws and National Park Service mandates."
VINP and Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) formed a partnership that allows
VIDA to assist with goat and sheep capture. Both agencies will promote the VIDA Animal
Registration and Impoundment Program, which requires livestock including goats, sheep, hogs
and donkeys to be fenced, registered and visibly tagged. Funds from VINP may be available for
St. John livestock ranchers to repair fences. Livestock ranchers are advised to remove their
animals from NPS lands, maintain their exclosures to prevent future encroachments and register
their livestock with VIDA.
The proposed sustained reduction program would be accomplished in three phases. In the first
phase, administration, infrastructure acquisition, and possibly fencing in selected areas. In phase
two, techniques such as baits, traps and shooters will be used to humanely reduce populations
throughout the Park. Phase three will be to monitor for and remove remnant goats and sheep
community outreach, information dissemination and fence maintenance.
Phase I will require approximately one year to complete once environmental compliance is
complete. This year will be used to hire or contract with personnel, purchase supplies, construct
traps, establish communications, and fence especially vulnerable long-term monitoring plots.
NPS may also begin selective fencing near limited areas of the boundary where goats and sheep
can easily reenter the Park (Herman Farm, L' Esperance and Catherineberg, Bordeaux Mountain,
Hawksnest, Cinnamon, Ram Head and Lameshur). Funds will possibly be made available for
island livestock ranchers to repair their fences.
An initial goat and sheep population reduction campaign is envisioned in Phase II. It will
possibly take approximately 2 to 3 years. Baiting, single-capture and corral traps will be
employed to collect animals. Areas of high goat (and to a much smaller degree sheep)
concentrations that live in the Park and omits animals that graze the Park routinely, but live
outside the Park, a situation that occurs at Bordeaux Mountain and the East End portion of the
Park. Moreover, because of the dramatically increased herd size at Ram Head/Lameshur, and
Brown Bay/Leinster, natural resource degradation would continue at an accelerated rate. In
addition, perhaps the worst aspect is the new introductions at Lind Point and along the North
Shore area, because goats could be impacting as much as 100% of the terrestrial Park, within a
few years. Goat and sheep movements will determine where the collection efforts must then be
focused. Biological data will be recorded from each animal.
Phase III will be an indefinite period of scheduled and systematic monitoring throughout NPS
land for goat and sheep sign. Monitoring efforts for the presence or absence of goats and sheep
is crucial to routinely locate and remove animals from the Park, and protect the sensitive natural
and cultural resources. If goats, sheep or their foraging and trampling sign become evident in an
area, NPS Law Enforcement or Resource Management personnel will trap or humanely collect
A public meeting was held at the Legislative Conference Room on August 12, 2003 in St. John
that introduced the plan to control introduced animals within the Park. The well-attended
meeting gained support for the program and a majority of participants favored the control
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Wildlife Services program will conduct the goat
and sheep management program under contract with the NPS. Virgin Islands National Park is
reducing the number of goats and sheep in this park directly by trapping and shooting. Meat will
be distributed to local community members or to volunteers participating in the reduction
program. Only qualified Federal employees would within a practical extent distribute goat and
sheep meat as per NPS Regulations (NPS 77). For more information about meat donations or
funds for fence repair, please contact Carrie Stengel at VINP (340) 693-8950 extension 240.
Wildlife Services provides federal leadership and expertise to resolve conflicts between people
and wildlife. Wildlife Services works in all 50 states upon request to help balance the needs of
both people and wildlife. In the last decade, their mission has expanded beyond agricultural
damage management to include minimizing wildlife threats to public health and safety, resolving
wildlife conflicts in rural areas, protecting private and industrial property, protecting threatened
and endangered species, and preserving natural resources.
The decision to adopt the Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Goats and Sheep it/hin
Virgin Islands National Park is documented in a Decision Notice (DN) and Finding of No
Significant Impact (FONSI) prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act
and National Park Service policy and guidelines. The FONSI is based upon a Draft Plan and
Environmental Assessment (Plan/EA) released in December 2003 and comments of agencies and
the public on the Draft Plan/EA.
Copies of the adopted Plan may be viewed at public libraries, the Park's Visitor Center in Cruz
Bay, and National Park Headquarters at Christiansted, St. Croix, or can be downloaded from the
Internet at www.nps.gov/viis or www.friendsvinp.org. Printed or electronic copies of the Plan
also be requested at Rafe Boulon(nps.gov or by calling (340) 693-8950 extension 224.