Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Several goats grazing in the vicinity of Kopeka Bird Caves in Atiu.  The Cook Islands which lie roughly east of the Island of Tonga, above the Tropic of Capricorn, are a group of fifteen small islands with a total land area of 237 sq. km, scattered over two million sq. km. of ocean (Lambert, 1982). They are divided geographically into a northern group of low atolls: Penrhyn, Nanihiki, Rahanga, Pukapuka, Suwarrow and Nassau; and a southern group of volcanic islands: Mangaia, Rarotonga, Atiu, Mauke Mitiaro, Aitutaki, Manuac and Takutea (see Figure 1). The southern group occupies 87 percent of the land area (Mckean and Baisyet, 1994). Avarua on Rarotonga is the capital city. It is also the seat of government, centre of commerce and tourism. Most Cook Islanders are bilingual in Polynesian and English. In the livestock census of 1988 approximately 5,500 goats were recorded with an average herd size of seven per household and there were 2,300 does. Goat meat is widely accepted therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture has placed emphasis on improving the available stock through crossbreeding with Anglo-Nubian crosses from Fiji, improved management and health (Parutua, 1985). FAO has assisted the Government to develop the goat industry (Munro, E., personal communication) and Tamarua (2001) provided details of several projects through which 16 does and 4 bucks of Anglo-Nubian cross were imported from Fiji, and training has been implemented. The interest in raising goats has increased due to changes in management recently adopted by smallholders; the major system used by subsistence farmers is tethering in both Rarotonga and in the outer islands. Free grazing where goats are allowed to roam is also practiced but causes a lot of problems to the owners and to crop owners. Goats under this system sometimes end up on the makatea (raised coral) where they become feral. This system is mainly used in the outer islands. Goat numbers appear to have declined since the mid-1990s but the provisional data from the 2000 census indicate numbers higher than in previous years at 4,867 including 1,272 does (Tamarua, 2001 suggests a figure for 2000 of 3,679 goats). FAOSTAT reports a steady decline and the 2005 figure is 1000 goats.