Roaming cattle is a big concern on St. Eustatius. Goats, sheep, cows and chickens are left to roam free across the island. This has its charm of course but it comes at a heavy price.
Due to over foraging by roaming cattle the actual island is getting smaller due to erosion. When animals eat plants, which hold soil in place, the soil loosens and subsequently washes into the sea during heavy rainfalls. This is evident all over the island.
The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) recently published a report about this very problem. It is estimated that there are over 12,000 goats alone roaming the island. The amount of chickens, goats and sheep have been estimated to have trebled during the last 7 years.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in collaboration with the Directorate of Economy, Nature & Infrastructure of the Public Entity) are in the process of accepting a proposal to incorporate a long-term and sustainable solution to this problem.