Goats have finally been eliminated from Te Papakura o Taranaki, which was formerly known as Egmont National Park.
Since 2016, the Taranaki Mounga* Project and the Department of Conservation (DoC) have focused on eliminating goats across the 34,000ha park. *Mounga is the local spelling of the Māori word maunga.
The last goats were wiped out by hunting them down on the plain that surrounds the Taranaki Peninsula’s three mountains, and educating farmers about the park boundary.
They count over 1350 culled.
It makes the park New Zealand’s first to be free of ungulates – hooved animals, as the park also has no deer or pigs.
The Mounga Project is also working toward significantly reducing other pest animals and plants on the mountain, including possums, rodents, hares, stoats, weasels and ferrets, and has plans to create a “halo” boundary system to prevent pests coming back.
And, with reference to the whakataukī: “oranga mounga, oranga tangata; healthy nature, healthy people”, the project also aims to foster opportunities for adding to community health, education and skill development.
The area is now home to small but regenerating populations of kiwi and whio, and North Island robins.
It is a collaboration between DoC, the Taranaki iwi Chairs forum and the NEXT Foundation.
The final eradication of goats was marked by the signing of a Tomorrow Accord, in which the Crown has agreed to maintain the ecological gains achieved.
Future monitoring for goats in the park will now be handed back to DoC.