UPDATE: Gordon Myers at NC Wildlife says the plan to get rid of the goats has been put on hold indefinitely to gather additional information and seek public input.
OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Have you ever seen the wild goats off Ocean Isle Beach? Well, if you haven’t and want to, you’d better hurry. The State of North Carolina wants them gone.
Ocean Isle Beach residents and visitors say the goats have been on spoil islands off the coasts of Ocean Isle and Sunset Beaches for as long as they can remember. Now that the state wants the goats gone, most people are asking why.
“I have no idea now why the state has decided they need to remove them,” Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said. “Except the report that they were causing pollution, but they’ve been there for decades.”
Smith said the state didn’t contact the town before deciding to auction the goats off. Although the spoil islands do technically belong to the state and are not part of Ocean Isle Beach, their visitors and residents are the ones who enjoy looking at the creatures, residents like Debra Allen, who says there’s a better solution.
“If you reduce the population, there’s not going to be as much pollution,” Allen said. “I just don’t think you need to get rid of all of them.”
Allen says the goats are a tourist attraction, and visitor Dawn Bonagura agrees they’re definitely a novelty.
“I would leave them out there,” Bonagura said. “I mean, they’re fat and happy. Why bother them?”
She said the goats are like small cows, and she believes they were put on the islands to control vegetation.
There are many answers to questions like where did they come from? And how many are there? But one thing’s for sure: most people don’t want them to go.
“I don’t know that we’re going to lose much for them to be gone, but it’s just another beautiful animal that’s on the island that you can see,” Allen said. “We’ve got so much wildlife here. Clearly, they weren’t naturally wildlife over there, but they’re part of the wildlife now.”
“Maybe some farmer will come bid on them to another happy home,” Smith said.
Bidding starts Wednesday, May 18. The winner has to have all the goats and any other livestock removed by Friday, June 17.
Real property agent for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission John Barbour is the contact for the bidding. We contacted him, but he could not share the state’s side of the story without media clearance, which he has not yet received.
If you’re interested in bidding to remove the animals, visit http://www.doa.state.nc.us/ssp/documents/specialbids/GoatBid.pdf.