Goats have inhabited the island of Bonaire since the 16th century. In 1526, Juan de Ampues, governor of Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba, began to raise cattle on the island. He brought in a number of Caiquetios and some Indians from Venezuela as laborers, and within a few years cows, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, and horses were being raised on the island. Valued less for their meat than for their hides, the animals needed little tending and were generally let loose to wander freely around the island. Before long they greatly outnumbered the human inhabitants, and today the island counts substantial populations of donkeys and goats among its wildlife.
Goat populations on Bonaire have remained high in recent decades, often causing irreversible damage to columnar cacti. Wild, free-roaming goats are the 2nd most invasive species on the island. The problem of roaming livestock is particularly acute in the Caribbean Netherlands.
As harmful as the wild goats may be to the island and to the indigenous cacti, I have to admit, I loved seeing them. As with many things though, the free- roaming goats and donkeys Bonaire – The Donkeys of Bonaire are a double-edged sword, bringing both good and bad results.
Run free and run wild for as long as you can. Stay wild, stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.