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Small Italian island is inviting people to take goats for free but there's one bizarre challenge

If you think the challenge is going to be easy, the Sicilian regional government has a surprise for you.

Small Italian island is inviting people to take goats for free but there's one bizarre challenge
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Snapwire

Offers that seem too good to be true often come with a catch. This Italian island of Alicudi is allowing people to get free goats, but there is a "small" catch. Eligible takers must catch the goats themselves and have a boat to transport them off the island. The mayor, Riccardo Gullo, said that he does not care if the person knows how to raise goats or not, all they need is to be able to take the goat away from their island, reports CNN.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nandhu Kumar
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nandhu Kumar

Alicudi has a population of 100 people and is the least inhabited of the seven Aeolian islands. The "adopt-a-goat" initiative began as a humane alternative to culling goats that have overrun homes, parks, and gardens, and even damaged stone walls. The issue began when the goat population far surpassed that of the island's human residents.

According to the Sicilian regional government, the goats were first brought to the island by a farmer 20 years ago, who then set them free. At first, for years, they grazed around on the sides of Alicudi’s cliffs and are seen in almost any postcard from the volcanic island. But they soon reproduced and increased at a drastic rate. "Six hundred goats have been counted," Gullo told Sky News. “The island is really small, so [that’s] really too many.” 


The mayor has announced that individuals can request to take up to 50 goats by making an official application to the community by April 10. He added that he would extend the deadline for all the goats to get adopted. So, if one is wondering what is the process to get it, the applicant should email their request to the local authority and pay €16 (around $17) stamp fee to make it official. Once the goats have been apportioned, the goat taker has 15 days to catch these goats and take them from the island.

The giveaway will persist until the native goat population reaches a manageable level. The plan is to leave just a few goats on the island to charm tourists. We have heard from dozens of people since we first announced this,” Gullo said. He said ideally they would want the animals to be domesticated instead of being eaten. However, the authorities will not be probing any goat adopter's intentions.

Authorities have reportedly heard from many prospective goat owners. The requests are from as far as Tuscany in central Italy and Lombardy in northern Italy. A farmer from Vulcano had shown interest in some of the goats for his cheese-making business. Alicudi is about a two or three-hour boat ride from mainland Sicily, however, it has no hotels and just one bar. Moreover, its rustic charm is what attracts tourists and for them to get around. The only options for the people coming here are either to walk or opt for donkeys and mules, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

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