Increasing the efficacy of Judas goats by sterilisation and pregnancy termination

The use of Judas goats to locate remnant animals is a potentially powerful tool for enhancing goat-eradication efforts, which are especially important to island conservation. However, current Judas goat methodology falls short of its potential efficacy. Female Judas goats are often pregnant at the time of deployment or become impregnated in the field; pregnant females leave associated goats to give birth, causing downtime of Judas goat operations. Further, male Judas goats may inseminate remnant females. Sterilising Judas goats prior to deployment removes these inefficiencies. Here, we describe two methods (epididymectomy for males and tubal occlusion for females) that sterilise Judas goats while still maintaining sexual motivation and other behaviours associated with intact animals. These surgeries are straightforward, time efficient, and may be conducted in the field by staff with minimal training. Given the widespread and deleterious impacts of non-native herbivores to ecosystems and the importance of Judas operations in detecting animals at low densities, sterilisation and termination of pregnancy should be applied routinely in Judas goat (and possibly other species) programs to increase the efficacy of low-density control operations and eradication campaigns.

Author Karl J. Campbell, Greg S. Baxter, Peter J. Murray, Bruce E. Coblentz, C. Josh Donlan and Victor Carrion G.
Date 20/12/2005
Year 2005
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 32
Number 8
Pages 737-743
Notes Notes
Control method Judas Technique