Independent UK via Enpa

100 Goats Removed from Island in Largest Rescue in Italian History

Palmaria island was almost deserted, except for some goats.

Now, it's moving closer to being a fully deserted island.

Relocation attempts have begun for an estimated one hundred wild goats living on the island of Palmaria off the coast of northern Italy, which is being hailed as the biggest rescue operation in Italian history. The invasive species came to the island back in the 1960s and no one knows exactly how they got there.

Only 30 people make up the human population that live on the island, who find their livelihood in farming. Though a tourist attraction, the goats have become a common sight but also a nuisance, eating and trampling farmers' crops and native plants along the steep cliffs.

Palmaria is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Italian island, and the goats, gained fame during a public outcry in 2016 when the island's Italian mayor began toying with the idea of culling the goats to protect the native flora. An Italian animal rights group named Enpa stepped in to humanely aid in the ungulate affairs, reaching an agreement with the island to transfer the goats to the mainland in an ambitious operation. Animal lovers everywhere are volunteering to help move the goats.

While rescue efforts are already underway as of this weekend, it will likely take a year to move the entire hooved island population. Preliminary steps include obtaining a more accurate goat census and fitting the goats with tracking collars.

The goats will receive a physical medical exam by a veterinarian before heading to a mainland farm sanctuary where they will await adoption and a new home. Enpa said any potential new goat parents can only adopt if they intend to raise the goat as a pet, not for meat.


Enpa's vice president Massimo Pigoni told Italian newspaper La Stampa:

"So once they leave the island, we have to be sure that these animals won't end up at the end of a shotgun or in a cooking pot, nor put into production. Careful, though, they're not indoor animals and they can't be kept on a leash like a dog. There are the costs of capturing the goats, transporting them, keeping them, the considerable costs of vet care and checks before and after adoption; costs to be borne until the last goat has reached its destination. In safety. Loved, cared for, protected." 

A crowdfunding page has been set up to help with expenses over the next year.

What do you think about the goat rescue operation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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