Thursday, April 21, 2011

The goats on Mona Island back in 1979, ABE field trip

A startled goat running at full tilt through the scrubby vegetation in alocation a few hundred feet south of the Mona lighthouse
Part of herd of about thirty that crossed the road from Pajaros beach to the lighthouse

Two goats grazing on the median strip of the road from Pajaros beach to the lighthouse.

My first trip to Mona Island was back in 1979.  It was with the Asociation of Biology Students of the Mayaguez campus of the University of Puerto Rico.  This trip was an important event in my life as I made new friends and decided to go to study to the Mayaguez campus.  I took many photos in that trip, sadly they have become a bit deteriorated.  But they still provide a window to a time where Mona Island was not a popular destination and few people visited it.  In this trip I saw a large number of goats.  About seventy goats crossed the road ahead of me during a half hour hike between Pajaros beach and the lighthouse, undoubtably there were many times this number lurking in the vegetation to the sides of the road.  The goats seemed untroubled by our presence  and some even spent some time grazing on the median strip of the road even as we approached them.   The goats were also plentiful around the lighthouse and I even managed to get fairly close to a few before they took flight.  In the decades that have passed since my trip hunting became much more popular and large numbers of hunters would visit the island to hunt for goats and pigs.  The goat population plummeted and it became harder and harder to see them.  The last time I was in Mona, about ten years ago, you had to hike for hours away from human haunted areas to be able to glimpse even one.

No comments: