Italian Island: Please Adopt Our Goats

Wild goats outnumber people on Italy's Alicudi by at least 6 to 1
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2024 3:20 PM CDT
Italian Island: Please Adopt Our Goats
A view of Filicudi, background, from houses on Alicudi, Aeolian Islands, Italy. Located off the northeastern shore of Sicily, vacationers, including some celebrities, flock to the Aeolian Islands in the summer season.   (AP Photo/Giovanna Dell'Orto)

About 100 year-round residents live on Alicudi, an idyllic, 2-square mile Mediterranean island that's part of the Aeolian chain. But they share their home with roughly 600 wild goats, and it's becoming a problem. As the New York Times reports, the plan is to capture, tag, and quarantine feral goats before shipping them off to nearby Sicily for a new adoption program that's turning out to be quite popular, if they can pull it off. The goats first came to the island 35 years ago when an inhabitant brought some in as a food source. After a few escaped, they thrived on the island's volcanic cliffsides, so much so that they now outnumber people by at least six to one.

Locals say the goat population has wreaked havoc on the island, knocking over traditional stone walls that terrace it, and invading people's homes and gardens as their food supply dwindles. "Forget about growing anything, decorative or for the kitchen," homeowner Lorcan O'Neill tells the Guardian, "the goats can get anywhere and eat the lot!" The adoption program—which had 1,900 offers from goat lovers around the world—is a step to curb their numbers. If it doesn't pan out (the goats, which can leap up to 10 feet, aren't exactly easy to capture), islanders have already resorted to more traditional methods. "Their refrigerators are full, I can assure you," Giovanni Dell'Acqua, a government official, tells the Times. (Feral chickens terrorize an English village.)

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