AUTHORITIES in Madrid have approved plans to cull 68 per cent of the wild mountain goats living in the nearby mountain ranges as the population has spiralled out of control.
The wild goats of the Sierra de Guadarrama to the north of the Madrid region have seen unrestricted population growth for around a decade and now number around 4000.
The animals are damaging native flora and fauna and starting to displace other native animal species. Farmers and ecologists have together approved the plans in the mountains separating Madrid from the province of Segovia in Castilla y León.
However ecologists are concerned over the motion on the grounds that it lacks clarity and allows individual hunters to take part in the cull, as well as official government workers.
Initially only 67 goats were introduced into the Parque Regional de la Cuenca Alta del Manzanares between 1989 and 1992 and since then the population has exploded due to perfect conditions for the goats and no natural predators. Presently it is estimated that there are average of 43 goats per square km.
In response to concerns over the ecological balance being disrupted the Government has decided to cull between 500 and 700 every year up until 2020.
An original plan to hunt the goats with crossbows has been side-lined due to hunters killing only 50 out of the allocated 361.
This follows a recent controversial cull where 50 goats where killed on Es Vedra in the Balearics for unknown reasons, according to ecologists.