Wild goats hanging about in an Alicudi street

Adopt a goat from Alicudi

By Region News The Islands

Alicudi, the smallest of the Aeolian archipelago, has a bit of a goat issue. The five-square-metre island now has a resident wild goat population of 600, so the mayor has suggested giving them away to anyone willing to have them.

Riccardo Gullo devised the plan after a recent census revealed that the number of goats on the five-square-kilometre Alicudi was six times the island’s year-round human population of about 100.

Initially, the goats coexisted peacefully with the human inhabitants and became a tourist attraction alongside the dormant volcano. However, their population has surged in recent years, leading them to venture from their usual habitat at the island’s peak toward inhabited areas. This has resulted in damage to vegetation, disruption in gardens and allotments, destruction of stone walls, and even incidents of goats entering people’s homes.

“Adopt a goat”

The “adopt a goat” initiative was seen as the most compassionate solution to manage the issue. Mayor Gullo says culling the animals was not an option, hence the encouragement for adoption. “Anyone can request a goat, and there are no restrictions on numbers,” he stated, setting a deadline of April 10 for applications.

There is already interest in the initiative, including from a farmer on Vulcano island seeking multiple goats for cheese production. While acknowledging the logistical challenges of transporting the goats back down from Alicudi’s steep terrain, Mayor Gullo believes it could be a humane way to address the issue.

Aerial view of Alicudi from the south.
Carsten Steger - Own work
Image available via Wikipedia under Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 4.0
Aerial image of Alicudi. The terrain poses a problem for goat retrieval.

The goat population on Alicudi originated around 20 years ago, likely introduced by someone with intentions to breed them. However, with the plan abandoned, the goats reproduced unchecked. Paolo Lo Cascio, a former councillor, raised concerns about the escalating goat population as early as 2008. Lo Cascio estimates the goat population to be higher, at around 800.

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