July 31, 2021

You’re kidding me: City visitors to Wicklow’s Glendalough asked not to pick up crying baby goats

City walkers in Glendalough are being asked by park rangers not to pick up kid goats which appear distressed.

Instead they should leave them alone alone or their mothers might reject them due to human scent.

Recently, some hillwalkers have thought they are  saving the animals by scooping them up in their arms and and bringing them to the Wicklow national park’s information centre.

“People hear them crying and think ‘oh look at this poor little goat, he’s abandoned’,” Wesley Atkinson, regional manager of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, told The Times Ireland Edition.

“They pick him up and bring them down to us. He’s not an orphan; the parent has just hidden it. The mother will come back and suckle their young and then leave again.”

Mr Atkinson added that there are more than 100 wild adult goats in the Wicklow Mountains and their young are normally born in February and March.

“The mother normally hides her young until they are big enough and strong enough to follow on. What happens is people hear them crying and presume they are abandoned. It also happens with deer calves, in May and June,” he said.

“When they bring them into us, we then have to try and bring them back to where they were as soon as possible. But what happens is if it’s been handled too much it’s got human scent on it, and there’s a risk the parents won’t accept it.

“I’ve had people carry deer calves for miles thinking they were abandoned, and it’s the worst thing they could do. The chances are they won’t know the exact location that they picked it up, and the chances of getting the youngster back into the wild are slim.

“They may find the mother again, or they may succumb to the elements,” he said.

“Many of the visitors to the national park are coming from an urban setting, and this is new to them. You probably won’t get a farmer’s son picking up a kid goat and walking it down to us.”

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