Man versus goats in Galapagos

May 1, 2007

Grants from private donors and the United Nations are helping rangers at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador turn the tide of the war against goats.

Private donors have given about $10 million and the United Nations has provided support for a program designed by park officials and the Charles Darwin Foundation to drive the non-native species out of the park, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The struggle, which has dragged on for decades, was sparked by concerns that the invading goats harm the local ecosystem by hogging the food source required by native species, such as tortoises.

"Sometimes we have to kill one animal so that others can survive," said Alonso Carrion, a ranger at Galapagos National Park.

The rangers have armed themselves with .223-caliber rifles, exploding bullets, telescopic sights, two-way radios and nylon nets and have hired helicopter pilots from New Zealand to get them close enough to thin the goat herds.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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