Amongst the range of domestic livestock species, the goat is not just the 'black sheep' but a resource of survival in impoverished countries, and many breeds are at great risk of disappearing. This is the case according to researchers of the Regional Service of Agro-Food Research and Development in their first monographic study tackling the global impact of this species.
A study from the Regional Service of Agro-Food Research and Development (SERIDA) has analysed the situation of the global goat population. The study took into account the state of different breeds, the multiple implications of their conservation, the interaction with other animal species (wild and domestic) and the consequences of goat grazing from an environmental point of view.
"The risk of the gene pool of the goat disappearing has increased due to intensive animal husbandry systems that use a very limited number of breeds. Strangely enough, the biggest loss in the genetic resources of indigenous animals has been observed in Europe, although the situation is unknown in many areas," as explained to SINC by Roco Rosa Garca, researcher at SERIDA and coauthor of the study.
The bad reputation given to goats stems from one of its main virtues: it has an extraordinary capacity to adapt to the most difficult of environmental conditions in places where other domestic livestock species would not survive.
"It is a reality that the grazing of these animals can cause damaging effects on the environment but ecosystems become overloaded because of inadequate practices of handling," ensures the scientist.
According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), nowadays the largest number of goats can be found in the poorest of countries and especially those which have difficult environmental conditions and mountainous, desert and semi-desert regions.
"In poor regions, poor communities are commonplace and often the goat is the only source o
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology