San Clemente Island Goats
The San Clemente Island goat is a genetically unique breed discovered on San Clemente Island 68 miles off the coast of San Diego, California.
In July 1972, due to overpopulation and subsequent destruction of the endangered indigenous plants, the Natural Resource Management Program
to exterminate the goat population began. In 1979, The Fund for Animals obtained an injunction from the court to halt the extermination
allowing the population to be removed from the island alive. Over the following two years, more than 6000 goats were removed from San Clemente
Island to the mainland, with half the population being cared for by the Clapp family and the other half being relocated to the Ranch San Diego
in California and the Black Beauty Ranch in Texas operated by Fund for Animals. In 1982, the court dismissed the injunction and extermination
resumed. For the next 3 years, the courts stopped and started the extermination program with the end result being extermination. The last goat
on San Clemente Island was exterminated in April 1991.
The domesticated goat essentially has been with us since civilization itself. As we understand today, the initial domestication of the goat began in the Neolithic Fertile Crescent. The San Clemente Island goat has been under domestication for only a few decades and a few generations, and in most basic understanding remains a feral goat. Unlike our more ancient domesticates, the San Clemente Island goat is not as easy to work with, and presents a reality in what our ancestors accomplished in domestication. For this reason, accompanied by a relative uncertainty as to best use, the San Clemente Island goat struggles to find popularity and currently finds itself with an approximate world population of 750 goats.
Annette and myself always had an affection for the goat, and with the purchase of Heron Hill Farm we came to the realization that we needed the
goat. Without any deliberation, we knew that the San Clemente Island goat was the direction we would venture. Our search for the right starting
stock for our herd came to an end with the wonderful help and support from
Mack Brin Farms in New York. They worked with us and helped plant our first three does on Élevage de Volailles to the hopeful end of
establishing our future herd.
Here at Élevage de Volailles the San Clemente Island goat has found a new home. As we grow our herd and start to develop our own lines we will discover where this very special breed will take us, whether it be dairy, meat, or to some other end; for today, their only job is to help with the maintenance of the farm and to multiply. As the years roll along, and new generations abound, we hope to do our small part in helping the San Clemente Island goat through its infancy of domestication.