The wildlife of the Great Orme is very rich. The sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heathland and woodland support an enormous variety of wildflowers and invertebrates, many of which are rare and unusual. The wide range of flowers on the Great Orme provide food for many different species of butterfly, and during the summer months clouds of butterflies can often be seen (a rare sight in many parts of the country).
Also throughout the summer months the spectacular cliffs are host to breeding colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills. Ravens and little owls also inhabit the more remote cliff areas.
For more detailed information on the wildlife of the Great Orme please look at the Management Plan.
Feral Great Orme Goats
The feral or wild goats with their white, shaggy coats and impressive horns are arguably the most spectacular mammals on the Great Orme. They are Kashmir goats. The herd descended from a pair of goats from the Windsor Royal Herd, acquired by Major General Sir Savage Mostyn around 1880. The herd was released on the Great Orme 20 years later and the goats have been roaming wild ever since.
The Great Orme goats are useful for conservation grazing as they feed mainly on scrub such as gorse, brambles and hawthorn. By grazing on these dominant plant species this enables the less competitive wild flowers to flourish, and because of their climbing ability, goats can also graze in areas that sheep can not reach.
As a result of the goats grazing on the Great Orme we have a huge number of wild flowers thriving including spiked speedwell, thrift and common rockrose, an important plant for the silver-studded blue butterfly (a sub-species only found on the Great Orme).
However in 2002 the number of goats on the Great Orme had increased dramatically with the herd consisting of over 200 individuals. It was decided that something had to be done to control the goat population on the Great Orme, resulting in a management programme that involves monitoring (biannual counts April and October), relocation and hormone implants.
Many of the nannies (female goats) have been implanted with progesterone (a birth control hormone) over the last few years . The effect of these implants lasts for up to three years, therefore helping to decrease the birth rate.
Also, in 2002 and 2003, 58 goats were relocated to suitable similar sites for conservation grazing.
Inevitably this combination of relocation and birth control will take a number of years before an obvious reduction in the goat population is evident. However in 2008 the total number of goats recorded on the Great Orme was 141. The target population number is around 100 animals.
Feral Great Orme Goats (Kashmir) available - ideal for conservation grazing
Adaptable to a wide range of habitats the breed is able to maintain itself on heath, moor, woodland and coastal terrain. It is particularly hardy and would prove effective in controlling or eradicating scrub; restoring heath or down; improving rough grazing.
The breed is attractive and appealing to the public and full of character. It is not aggressive or easily stressed but is wary.
Due to the feral nature of the goats locations are being sought that would emulate their existing lifestyle. Therefore, locations are being sought for the relocation of small herds of goats, rather than individual animals.
For further information contact
Phone: 01492 874151