First of its kind research project to be carried out on north Wales goats

First of its kind research project to be carried out on north Wales goats

An exciting research project is set to begin over the summer on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula, looking at a unique species of feral goat that have roamed the area for centuries. The Game & Wildlife Trust Conservation have been commissioned by Nant Gwrtheyrn to carry out the work.

Thanks to funding from Llŷn’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Sustainable Development Fund and support from the Llŷn Iveragh Ecomuseums Project work can now get underway. The aim is to collect data and information about the goats and to look at the situation regarding the sustainability and their effect on the area’s biodiversity.

The project will look at the herd that live and graze between the villages of Trefor and Pistyll, including the Eifl mountain range. They are a common sight for many on coastal walks and at Nant Gwrtheyrn.

Mair Saunders, Manager at Nant Gwrtheyrn said: “These goats have roamed the areas for centuries. During the lockdown it became increasingly clear to us that the numbers have increased significantly with the goats being spotted in villages such as Trefor and Llithfaen. There has also been an increase in the numbers we see here at Nant Gwrtheyrn. They used to only be seen in the winter when they came down for food and shelter, but now we see them here on a daily basis.

“We are concerned about their impact on the area’s biodiversity and rare species and on the herd’s health and makeup. With no research ever being carried out we are only going by assumptions; research is needed to get a full picture and accurate data about the situation. We feel that now is the right time, and we’re really grateful to AONB for their financial support and we’re excited to see the work to begin. It’s great that the local communities will also get an opportunity to get involved.”

A number of techniques will be used to monitor the animals. Including trail cameras, thermal imagery technology, drone footage and good old fashioned human surveying. The hope is tracking collars will also be fitted on a sample of the goats as part of trial in partnership with Bangor and Aberystwyth University’s, in addition to all this we would also like to look at the goats’ genetics to discover their unique bloodline.

Lee Oliver from the Game and Conservation Trust explains: “We are very excited at the opportunity to study the goats, as this is an isolated and relatively small but growing population, it will be a very interesting study group. It will give us an opportunity to use new and innovative techniques as well as working with the local community.”

Elin Wyn Hughes, Projects Officer for the Llŷn AONB added: “The Sustainable Development Fund is a Welsh Government fund and supports projects in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that promote sustainability and promotes the landscape and its special qualities. This project in particular is exiting and valuable in terms of gathering information about this interesting species, and the condition of some very important habitats in the area.”

For more information about the project keep an eye on Nant Gwrtheyrn and ANOB Llŷn’s social media channels.