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Gioura, Northern Sporades – ancient goat breed

The island of Gioura was a royal possession and is now owned by the Greek State. It is the most efficiently protected area of the Marine Park Northern Sporades. One or two wardens stay there permanently, at least since the 1950s, several decades prior to the park's foundation. The wardens report to the Forestry Department on Skopelos.The reason for this strict protection is the belief that the endemic goat breed  on Gioura represents a unique wild species.

The mountainous, inaccessible landscape of Gioura (reaching 800 m hight) provided refuge for some domestic goats that had run away from settlers on Gioura - we do not know when that happened; certainly a very long time ago. The goats became feral by returning to the behaviour of wild animals. After the Second World War more domestic goats were brought to Gioura; they cross-bred with the older stock. Hunting was not efficient in reducing the numbers; so the goats now over-populate the island, denude the slopes and destroy the remaining oak woodlands.

In my monograph study of 1963 about all wild and feral goat populations on islands of the Aegean (Crete, Erimomilos and Gioura mainly), I provided the scientific evidence for this hypothesis. There is no indication, though, from where this breed originally came from and by which people it was introduced to the island. In the article: "Gioura - civilization over 10.000 years" I have discussed that question further.

I strongly recommend to drastically reduce the number of free-roaming goats on Gioura. The best solution being a total eradication on the rugged island after transfer of a small herd to a controlable island (e.g. Agios Georgios between Alonnisos and Skopelos).

Literature:  Schultze-Westrum, T. 1963, Die Wildziegen der griechischen Inseln. In: Säugetierkundliche Mitteilungen, 11, 145 - 182

Veröffentlicht am Kategorien Goats, Northern Sporades, Rare breedsSchlagwörter , , ,

Über Thomas Schultze-Westrum

Dr. Thomas Georg Hans SCHULTZE-WESTRUM Author of Scientific and Popular Publications Producer and Director of Documentary Films and Videos Adviser in Nature Conservation and Preservation of Rural Cultures Initiator of Conservation Programmes German national. Born 1937 (Berlin). Classical education at the Benedictine monastery of Ettal in Upper Bavaria. Graduate of Munich University, with degrees in Zoology, Geology and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology). Scholarship by “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. Research (University of Munich, other scientific institutions) and publications on social and population physiology of marsupials and other vertebrate fauna of New Guinea and the Mediterranean Region, cultural anthropology, conservation and resource management on the village level, mainly in Greece and New Guinea. Author of the books “New Guinea” (Berne 1972) and “Biologie des Friedens” (Biology of Peace), Munich 1974. Dr. Schultze-Westrum has joined for several years the Commissions on Ecology and Environmental Planning of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). He is the founder of the working group (IUCN Commission on Ecology) “Conservation and Traditional Life Styles” 1979; the “ECOCULTURE” Movement 1981; the “Gesellschaft für die Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen” GEH (Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Breeds of Domestic Animals) 1981; and the non-profit-making society “KALLIERGIA”, for traditional agriculture and village conservation in Greece, 1993. As a consultant he has worked for the EU, IUCN, OECD and WWF. As a film maker he has produced, directed and mostly also shot, for German television and international TV networks, 75 documentaries, mainly ecological portraits with emphasis upon the integration of local and traditionally living people into conservation projects. His first film (1974) was about alternative (sustainable) utilization of tropical rainforests in New Guinea, for ZDF. Never Dr. Schultze-Westrum has entered any of his films into an award winning competition, because he is more concerned about the effects of his TV work in actual conservation and public awareness. One of these real awards was the creation of the Marine National Park Alonnisos Northern Sporades in Greece as a result of his film “The Coast of the Monk Seals” in 1976/77 for ZDF (ratings 36 % - shown in 11 countries). His programme “Green Desert”, about traditional water management in the Sultanate of Oman was distributed by the Television Trust for the Environment TVE to 44, mainly Third World, countries. Another leading aspect of his film work was the production of environmental films for the people of the country where he was filming. So, he produced the first TV series of films on ecology, rural life styles and conservation for Greece (in the early 80’s, 14 programmes) and for the Sultanate of Oman (late 80’s, 12 films). His deep interest in ancient human traditions inspired him to produce “Omani Seafaring”, for Oman TV; “Im Kielwasser Sindbads” (In the Wake of Sindbad), for the series Terra X of ZDF; and “Insel der Magier” (Island of the Sorcerers: Waigeo) for ARTE TV. After retiring from TV film production at the end of 2002 he is returning to his earlier scientific work (abandoned in the early 70’s) about the social and population physiology of marsupials ( Petaurus breviceps papuanus and closely related species); village based conservation; the evolution of human communal behaviour and cultural diversity; and the evolution of art styles in the Papuan Gulf province of New Guinea. Since 1992 he is also involved in eco- and agrotourism programmes that are based on his earlier promotion of this alternative “soft” tourism through publications and films, in Greece and West Papua. His conservation activities are continuously focussed on Greece and New Guinea, since 1957 and 1959, respectively. Dr. Schultze-Westrum now is writing up his experiences of many years field work and he is keeping communications alive through his homepage, from the ancient village of Kazaviti on the island of Thassos in the northern Aegean Sea. The conservation and re-activation of outstanding traditional values of Kazaviti stand at the centre of a local museum and documentation centre to be set up in one or even two old Macedonian stone houses.