Campaigners have called for a halt to the slaughter of goats in Snowdonia.
Several hundred names have been added to a petition calling on the National Trust to stop killing the goats which, the trust says, cause a nuisance in the Llanberis area.
The National Trust (NT) says a ‘limited cull’ of the goats is necessary because they cause a hazard on roads in the area and are eating farm crops. Marksmen are estimated to have killed 38 goats this year. Opponents of the cull say it is unnecessary and that the animals are a tourist attraction.
Roy Allen, who runs an animal rescue charity shop in Caernarvon, Gwynedd, is leading the campaign against the killings, He is urging holidaymakers who visit the shop to fill out postcards voicing their opposition and then sending them to the NT. He has also collected signatures on the petition.
Mr Allen says most visitors to the area don’t see the goats. He says they are viewed as rare rather than numerous. The cull is also backed by the Countryside Council for Wales and the Snowdonia National Park. However, in March this year, Snowdonia authority said: “The national park authority, along with its partners, believes that the future management of the goat population must and will be determined by surveys, counts and specialist advice which will feed into a planned and forward-looking strategy.
“Sporting activities which include the hunting of goats within the national park are not considered by the authority as a sustainable way of managing the numbers of feral goats and therefore it strongly opposes any sporting activity which does so.”
On its guide to the ascent of Snowdon by both the Pyg Track and Miners’ Track, it lists the herds of wild goats as a point of interest.
The Countryside Council for Wales, however, says rare mountain plants are at risk from the animals: “These plants would appear to be safe in their mountain refuges but even they face challenges – from rising temperatures, acid rain, overgrazing by sheep and the attentions of increasing numbers of feral goats in parts of North Wales.”
The goats were culled in spring this year, but the NT says the shooting of further numbers of the herds may be necessary.