Italy: Tiny Sicilian island giving away goats as tensions grow over rapidly expanding animal population

A tiny remote island off the coast of Sicily has started donating its 600 goats, with the animals overwhelming the human population of just 100.

Local mayor Riccardo Gullo told Sky News the goats were creating "tension" among the local community as they were wreaking havoc on the environment, storming people's homes and eating their crops.

Mr Gullo said it all started with a few goats supposedly escaping from their owner and going on to reproduce themselves to a point where they have now become too hard to manage.

"They represented a problem, you would meet them everywhere," he said.

"Six hundred goats have been counted - the island is really small, so they're really too many."

With pictures showing the goats grazing on what appears to be residents' back gardens, the mayor said measures had to be taken to contain them following "massive damage" on the island, the smallest of the volcanic Aeolian archipelago in southern Italy.

"Some goats are nice and robust, so some people are scared, while others fear they will enter their home," said Mr Gullo.

The plan to offer the goats to whoever sought to breed them has so far been successful, the mayor said, with requests coming from as far as the central Italian region of Tuscany and Lombardy, in the north of Italy.

While the offer expires on 10 April, there are no restrictions on who can apply for a goat or any limit on how many of the wild animals one can request.

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"It's a random delivery without conditions, a special gift," the mayor of the Comune di Lipari, which administers Alicudi, said.

Gloria, owner of the Golden Cafe Noir at Alicudi's port, welcomed the plan but questioned how it would work logistically.

She told The Guardian the goats have become "too many", with one of the animals also visiting her business.

While it attracted attention at first, Gloria was concerned the goat could turn aggressive towards one of her customers.

Pointing to how it may be a struggle to get the goats transferred from the top of the mountainous, cone-shaped island, she said: "How will they bring the goats back down? Perhaps they would need a helicopter to transfer two or three at a time.

"It's a nice proposal, but there is no logistical solution yet."