GOAT RESCUE: National Parks and Wildlife officers prepare to ascend to rescue the last remaining goat on Byron headland.
GOAT RESCUE: National Parks and Wildlife officers prepare to ascend to rescue the last remaining goat on Byron headland.

Wategoat's on the run again

UPDATE 10.30am: CAPE Byron's last goat got one look at its 'rescuers' and made a break for it.

The Wategoat, who earned her name through rumours of her clattering on the roofs of the wealthy residents of Wategos, had been thought to be sick and frail, triggering an elaborate plan to 'rescue' her.

She had not moved for up to two weeks from her location on a rocky outcrop at the base of the Cape, underneath the lighthouse.

Some locals have reported seeing Wategoat with blood on her back left leg and in obvious pain.

"She looked in a horrible way," said Alison Reid who frequents the light house almost daily.

"I reckon she's been down there for nearly two weeks.

"And she's skinnier; much skinnier."

Skinnier, maybe, but not slower and as agile as, well, a goat.

As rescuers neared the lonely goat at the base of the cliff, the animal took off across the cliff and at last report was feeding half way up the cliff directly below the administration building.

However, her 'rescuers' aren't giving up.

Alistair Hill from the RSPCA was among several staff from NPWS and the rescue squad who did their best to assess Wategoat's condition from the lighthouse yesterday and determine what her rescue operation would require.

Mr Hill said, given the goat's ageing condition, they would "play it safe" and remove her.

Mr Hill said the goat would be sedated using a tranquiliser gun and placed in the same kind of sled used in human rescues before being winched up the sheer cliff face by members of the rescue squad.

A veterinarian would assess her condition before Wategoat was likely shipped to a goat farm to spend her remaining years.

Goats have populated the lighthouse cliffs since it was built in 1901.

Wategoat, a bit of a loner, managed to avoid the re-location of the last herd of eight goats which were removed from the area in 2003 as she could not be found.

"It won't be the same without a goat," said local Kathy Frame.

"This one's just an amazing personality; well loved," Ms Frame said.

GOAT WATCH: Lee Middleton, a Discovery Ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW, keeping an eye on the stranded goat at the Byron Bay Lighthouse and, inset, story published in The Northern Star on July 31, 2003.
GOAT WATCH: Lee Middleton, a Discovery Ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW, keeping an eye on the stranded goat at the Byron Bay Lighthouse and, inset, story published in The Northern Star on July 31, 2003.

9.30am: BYRON Bay Lighthouse's last remaining goat, Wategoat, was due to be rescued from a rocky outcrop 100m below the iconic structure early this morning and relocated in what will be the end of an era.

The 5.30am rescue was expected to involve staff members from the RSPCA, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Brunswick Valley Rescue Squad (BVRS) plus police officers and a veterinarian.

The elaborate operation has been sparked by concerns for the female goat's health as it has not moved for up to two weeks from its location on a rocky outcrop at the lighthouse's base.

The last goat at Cape Byron
The last goat at Cape Byron

Some locals have reported seeing the goat with blood on its back left leg and in obvious pain.

"She looked in a horrible way," said Alison Reid, who visits the lighthouse almost daily.

"I reckon she's been down there for nearly two weeks.

"And she's skinnier; much skinnier."

Alistair Hill from the RSPCA was among several staff from NPWS and the rescue squad who did their best to assess Wategoat's condition from the lighthouse yesterday as well as determine what her rescue operation would entail.

Mr Hill said given the goat's age they would "play it safe" and remove her.

He said the goat would be sedated using a tranquiliser gun and placed in the same kind of sled used in human rescues before being winched up the sheer cliff face.

A veterinarian would assess her condition before Wategoat was likely shipped to a goat farm to spend her remaining years.

It will be an end of an era as goats have populated the lighthouse cliffs since it was built in 1901.

Wategoat managed to avoid the relocation of the last herd of eight goats taken from the area in 2006.

"It won't be the same without a goat," said local Kathy Frame.

"This one's just an amazing personality; well loved."



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