About San Clemente Island Goats
San Clemente Island Goats are
derived from feral goats isolated on San Clemente Island, one of the Channel
Islands off the coast of California. They are thought to
be descended from goats brought to the island by Spanish missionaries and
settlers; breeds such as the La Blanca Celtiboras, the La Castellana
Extremenas, and later the more common dairy and meat goats of Spain, the
Malaguenas and Murcianas.
The U.S. Navy became
responsible for the island in 1934. Hunting and trapping were allowed, but in
1972, when a survey concluded that there were 11,000 goats on the island, a
systematic removal program was begun. By 1980 an estimated 4,000 goats still remained
on the island.
The Navy then proposed a
shooting program to be conducted from helicopters, but it was blocked in court
by an animal welfare group, the Fund for Animals. This group used helicopters
and nets to capture the goats, then took them off the island and found homes
for them across the country. Practically all the goats were removed from the
island in this manner.
San Clemente goats are
relatively small, close to the maximum standard for dwarf breeds. They are a
meat breed, though uncommonly fine-boned and deer-like. They are horned in both
sexes. Although the island population once exhibited a wide range of colors and
color markings, the goats are now mostly red or tan with black markings.