Save the Critically Endangered Bilberry Goats in Waterford, Ireland From Extinction
Petitioning Waterford City and County Council to Apply to Europe for Protection Status for the Critically Endangered Bilberry Goats
PETITION LINK BELOW
For centuries now people entering Waterford city are greeted with the wonderful sight of the Bilberry Goats up on Bilberry Rock. The Bilberry Goats, a rare treasure in Waterford, are the last of an ancient breed of wild goats not only in Ireland but also in the world. The Bilberry goats are now critically endangered. There is overwhelming support for the Bilberry Goats in Waterford with petitions in the past reaching 17,000 in number.
First and foremost it is Protection Status that the Bilberry Goats need most as it protects them from exploitation, from the risk of extinction and protects their habitat. The Bilberry Goats Heritage Trust contacted the relevant authorities in Europe to apply for Protection Status and they were told it is the local Waterford City and County Council who must start the application process.
On the 30th November, 2023 the Bank of Ireland are selling habitat land from under the critically endangered Bilberry Goats. The goats are visible in photos in the property listing, but they are not mentioned. The house and outbuildings on the site are also listed buildings. (1) This petition is also calling on Waterford City and County Council, the NWPS or the Government to step in and to purchase the green field site for the people of Waterford and for the goats. It is hard to believe that this sale is going ahead at a time when there are huge calls nationally and internationally to save wild species and to preserve green sites. The sale of this land is a cause of huge upset for the people of Waterford as the Bilberry Goats are dear to their hearts and the goats are part of Waterford’s very rich heritage.
A comprehensive DNA study determined that the Bilberry Goats showed the most genetic independence from other goat breeds internationally. This study was funded by the Department of Agriculture and carried out by Wetherbys Ireland and University College Dublin. (2) Also uniquely, the goats are the only herd of wild goats living on the edge of a city. In 2002, members of the British Feral Goat Society Dr. Shirley Goodyear and Dr. Ray Werner accompanied by Robert-Jan Prins, who is a Dutch Breeder of Landrace Goats, came to Waterford to see the Bilberry Goats. They were amazed to see a primitive ancient herd still living in the wild.
The Bilberry Goats are a landrace breed, which means that the particular vegetation and minerals on the land being sold, are critical to their survival. It is also what gives them their distinctive coat and appearance. The goats and the land are interdependent, and it is likely that the habitat has flora and fauna on it which only exists there because of the goats.
The plight of the Bilberry Goat has been picked up in the past by international newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and even by a major newspaper in Malta as they recognise the value of these precious, unique goats
The Waterford people and interested groups are saying please get Protection Status for these innocent, beautiful animals and to please buy this habitat land before they become extinct.
Bilberry Goats Heritage Trust