The feral goat originates from Europe. Goats were released in New Zealand in the late 1700s. They were liberated widely on the main islands and also on smaller islands to provide food for castaways.
Goats are browsers rather than grazers and have adapted well to New Zealand conditions. Goats remove all palatable seedlings when present in New Zealand’s indigenous forest and will browse commercial forest species. They also have a detrimental effect on indigenous coastal shrubland.
Populations of feral goats exist in the North and South Island in scattered locations but often over large tracts of country. Population levels vary from low to high depending on the habitat. Feral goats are widespread in Marlborough. They are most abundant in South Marlborough and in the Marlborough Sounds.