Arapawa Goat Breeders – USA (AGB) is an association of conservers of the rare breed of goats that were feral on Arapawa Island in Queen Charlotte Sound and separated from the South Island of New Zealand by the Tory Channel. They persisted in an undiluted feral state for 150 or more years and evolved with self-sustaining characteristics that make them valuable for the healthy genetic diversity they possess.
There are presently fifteen or so holders of Arapawas across the US stemming from a founder herd of six goats imported in 1994 by Plimoth Plantation, a living museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. A registry of thoroughbred Arapawas was initiated by Plimoth Plantation Rare Breeds Department. The Registrar for the association now maintains the Registry.
The Arapawa Goat Breeders – USA performs the functions of keeping the Registry of thoroughbred animals, providing a communications link to the holders of the breed, and promoting breed conservation to anyone interested. Census data has been gathered every year or two for the measurement of progress and information for American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC). The census taken as of 12/31/2010 found a total US population of 147 live animals with an additional 175 estimated outside the US. By that time there had been 291 goats registered in the US.
The ALBC Conservation Priority List elevated the Arapawas to the 'Critical' category after a DNA study found them to be a unique breed with a very small population.
Documentation of the origins of the feral herd on Arapawa Island is important to understanding the genetic resource we are conserving. However, the hardiness, self-sustainability, and disease resistance qualities that these goats evolved make them a potential source for the stimulation of narrowly bred domestic varieties. Since the environment on Arapawa Island is not the same as the conservation herd is experiencing here in the US, these superior qualities must be observed and documented to support the claims. That is a challenge for the conservers.