Wily Wategoat weaves away from Wategoes rescue
The operation to rescueByron Bay Lighthouse's last remaining goat Wategoes, from a rocky outcrop 100m below the iconic structure got underway at first light this morning with an RSPCA officer and National Parks and Wildlife officer ascending on ropes with a stretcher to begin the tricky operation.
However as rescuers neared the lonely goat at the base of the cliff, the animal once thought to be sick and frail took off across the cliff and at last report was feeding half way up the cliff directly below the administration building.
The 5.30am rescue involves several 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.
It has not moved for up to two weeks from its location on a rocky outcrop at the lighthouse's base.
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."
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 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 2006 as she could not be found.
"It won't be the same without a goat," said local Kathy Frame.