The San Clemente Island goat is a feral breed named for its place of origin, San Clemente Island, off the coast of California. It was long held that the original population evolved from a group of meat goats intended as a food source by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. However, recent DNA studies indicate that the San Clemente Island goats may not be of Spanish decent at all. Further testing needs to be run before their true ancestry can be determined.
San Clemente Island lacked predators and the goats thrived for several hundred years. During the 1980s, the impact of the goats on the island’s environment was scrutinized and found to be harmful, so an eradication program was initiated to eliminate the goats. Intervention by an animal protection group and a few breeders meant a small population of these goats was saved and left to breed.
San Clemente Island goats are small in size (50-90 pounds), as is typical of island-selected animals of any breed. They are horned and typically dark brown in color, with black stripes. Only a few hundred of this historic and unusual goat breed remains today.
SVF endeavors to place animals into active conservation programs whenever possible. We work with individual breeders and large conservation organizations such as zoos to promote breeding and education programs. SVF first began work with Leslie Edmundson in 2005, in hopes that she would become an active breed steward for the San Clemente Island goat. We health-tested, dehorned and flew a San Clemente buck kid to her farm in The Plains, Virginia:
“Thank you for your help with getting this goat to Virginia. I know you really went above and beyond the call of duty to help me get my little breeding program started, and I really appreciate everything you’ve done.” – Leslie Edmundson
Since that first buckling arrived at her farm, Leslie has become an outspoken leader for the San Clemente Island goats. Her farm is now home to a successful breeding herd and she has helped several new breeders start conserving this critically endangered breed as well. Leslie also pioneered the formation of the San Clemente Island Goat Association and maintains the website. SVF is very proud to have helped Leslie begin such a widely successful program.