This Italian Island Is Giving Away Free Goats

The mayor would like to interest you in some very fine goats, free of charge.
Goats have seized power in Alicudi.
Goats have seized power in Alicudi. / Faba-Photography/Moment via Getty Images

On the remote Italian island of Alicudi near Sicily, residents are attempting to cope with a peculiar civic matter. The area is becoming riddled with a growing population of goats, and the only solution may be in giving them away to anyone who wants them.

According to The Guardian, a recent census demonstrated that the goat population on the island has increased six- to eight-fold, going from a modest 100 goats to an estimated 600 to 800. (The human population is only 100.) Once content to idle at the top of the island’s mountain cliffs, the ungulates are now migrating to the populated area. Residents have found the beasts to be poor co-inhabitants, as they have a tendency to ravage vegetation and destroy property.

The goats also have no regard for boundaries. Some locals have found the animals in their homes. Business owners must shoo goats out from stores or from under bars. At a small three square miles, the island is simply not big enough for everyone.

“They move around in packs and cause damage, there are just too many of them,” one business owner who found a goat on her property told The Guardian. “It was a bit of an attraction, but then you worried whether it might bite someone.”

Alicudi is pictured
The port at Alicudi. / Dallas Stribley/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Alicudi mayor Riccardo Gullo proposed that the goats be given away for free rather than attempt the gruesome business of having them destroyed. Anyone, he said, can request a goat, from farmers to people who might look to domesticate them.

The problem is that Alicudi’s location and terrain make goat pick-up difficult and may limit interested parties who can’t figure out the logistics. It takes two to three hours to arrive by boat from Sicily. If someone adopts a goat (or goats), they’ll have 15 days to lure them off the cliffs and onto a vessel.

Gullo accepted requests for the goats through Wednesday, though it’s possible that deadline will be extended. The mayor is also promising potential parties that the animals will be examined by a vet. Not every goat will need to be relocated, however. Gullo intends to keep some to appease tourists.

Prior to its goat crisis, Alicudi was perhaps most notorious for having been home to breadmakers who had inadvertently created hallucinogenic loaves with ergot, a psychoactive fungus that can provoke LSD-esque effects. Local legends dating back hundreds of years tell of people seeing ghosts, turning into donkeys, and other bad trips.

Alicudi is not the only community dealing with a surplus of nature. Residents of a suburb in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are coping with a small army of rabbits that are running amok.

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[h/t The Guardian]