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Free Goats to Anyone Who Can Catch Them

Written by on April 9, 2024

Goats are taking over a small Italian island—and local officials are offering them up for free to anyone who can catch them.

The couple traveling around the US in an Airstream with a goat | National |

The hoofed intruders are located on Alicudi, a volcanic island off the northern coast of Sicily that’s part of the Aeolian chain. It’s tiny, spanning roughly two square miles, and has approximately 100 human inhabitants.

Alicudi - Wikipedia

The goat problem dates back about 20 years when a farmer released some of the animals onto the island. Usually, roughly 100 goats roam around Alicudi at any given time. But this year, their population has skyrocketed.

“Six hundred goats have been counted,” Riccardo Gullo, Alicudi’s mayor, tells reporters. “The island is really small, so [that’s] too many.”

#TheMoment a herd of goats set off a police chase

The animals are beginning to cause problems for the local community. While they once kept to themselves on the island’s cliffs, they have started wandering into people’s yards and gardens—and sometimes even into their homes.

“We do not want to even consider culling the animals, so we are encouraging the idea of giving them away,” Gullo tells the reporters. “Anyone can request a goat—it doesn’t have to be a farmer—and there are no restrictions on numbers.”

Italian island overrun by goats is begging people to catch and take them  away

He adds, “If someone can domesticate a goat, it could be a beautiful and more humane way to control the issue.”

Anyone can file a request with the adopt-a-goat program free of charge—as long as they can catch the goats and get access to a boat that can transport them elsewhere.

Italian Island Overrun by Goats Offers to Give them Away

Interested parties need to mail in an official request by April 10 (though the deadline will likely be extended until the majority of the goats have been adopted) and pay a €16 (around US$17) stamp fee. Once approved, they’ll have 15 days to snag the goats and take them away.

Volcanic Paradises in Sicily: A Guide to the Aeolian Islands - Through  Eternity Tours

Authorities have heard from dozens of prospective goat owners. The requests have come from as far as Tuscany in central Italy and Lombardy in northern Italy. One farmer from Vulcano, a nearby island, has expressed interest in some of the goats for his cheese-making operation.

Italian island overrun by goats is offering them free to anyone who can  catch them | CNN

Some of the goats will be kept on the island for tourism, as the charismatic creatures make great photo opportunities for visitors. Alicudi—which is about a two- or three-hour boat ride from mainland Sicily—has no hotels and just one bar, but its rustic charm still appeals to some travellers. To get around, visitors must walk or use donkeys and mules.

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