What is the Rarest Goat?

The Arapawa goat breed is highly unusual, possibly one of the rarest in the world. Their tale dates back to 1773, when Captain Cook sailed with 2 Old English Milk Goats to the island of Arapawa, just off the coast of New Zealand. As a source of meat and milk, he left the goats behind in case he or any other settlers visited the island again.

The goats then bred successfully and took extremely well to the climate, so that they were numerous to the threat stage! This is proved by the account of a visitor to Arapawa’s whaling settlement in 1839, who wrote that the island was “swarmed” with goats in his diary.

The goats thrived for almost two centuries on the island until the 1970s, when they were almost eradicated by a Forest Service cull. Since the goat is a non-native animal, there is still a daily cull kept for the island by the conservation department.

While on the island of Arapawa, the breed is prevalent, there are very few elsewhere in the world. When we started to try to find a male for our little lady, we discovered this ourselves.

Our search was a long and hard operation, during which we were told that in the UK there were only 2 males available. One was the father of Davina, and the other one was a goat called Patrick. Having begun his life at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Patrick was then living with a grumpy llama in a very unsettled cohabitation.

He was found to have an occasional limp as a result of an argument between Patrick and his room-mate. After an inspection by our vet, we were pleased to learn that he is generally a happy and safe male who was very able to perform his duties as a companion to a suitable woman despite this problem.

Soon after, we were able to introduce our little girl, Davina, to Patrick, who he was extremely pleased to meet. It was not long before the prospect of a slight pitter patter of tiny goat’s hooves (and, might I add, exceptionally rare) was on the horizon.

Davina, with a single baby on the way, was scanned and confirmed as an infant. We cannot wait to meet them and to introduce a new Arapawa to the population of the United Kingdom!

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