Alicudi gets the goat

Alicudi gets the goat

ALCUDI: Now depends on tourism, not agriculture Photo credit: CC/Godromil

Alicudi, a small island with a dormant volcano in the Aeolian archipelago and a population of 100, is overrun by goats.

The island abandoned its agricultural past for tourism long ago, and the herd of goats that a farmer brought there 20 years back has gone feral.  They now outnumber year-round residents six-to-one.

They invade flower and vegetable gardens, demolish the island’s drystone terracing and devour whatever greenery they come across on the 5-square kilometre island that is three hours by boat from mainland Sicily.

The males with imposing horns are enormous and have become aggressive, raising fears that sooner or later somebody will be gored.

Alicudi mayor Riccardo Gullo came up with the idea of giving the goats away, with farmers on neighbouring islands the most likely applicants.

Instead, word got out and he has been inundated with 1,900 offers from  not only from Europe but also the US and Africa.

“The response has been great, but we’ll to have to turn the majority down,” Gullo told the media.

First, though, the goats must be rounded up and then shipped off the island, a job that has been allocated to Gianni Dell’Acqua, director of Rural Development for Messina.

“Corralling them won’t be easy as they have had such so much freedom for 20 years,” he said. “We expect a lot of resistance.”

After they have been blood-tested and checked for disease they will have to be herded down to the port, from where they will be transported to Milazzo (Sicily).  Here they will spend two months in quarantine.

Sicily’s regional authorities will then select the goats’ future owners, but people hoping to install a billy goat or nanny goat in their back garden need not apply.

“The goats will go only to farmers who know how to raise them and provide the environment they need,” Dell’Acqua said.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Anne Hetherington

      12 May 2024 • 11:01

      Love this quirky story ,takes a break from what’s going on in Gaza. Thank you Linda.👍

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