Coronavirus: Mountain goats take advantage of lockdown to roam deserted streets of Welsh town and eat people’s hedges

Llandudno residents welcome descendents of tribe owned by Queen Victoria as ‘new overlords’

Andy Gregory
Tuesday 31 March 2020 12:37
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Goats roaming the streets of Llandudno reported to police during lockdown

A daring tribe of mountain goats have taken advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to “take over” a Welsh town.

The emboldened caprids have been spotted gambolling through the deserted streets of Llandudno, nibbling on hedges, fleeing from police and, as noted by one observer, failing to observe social distancing rules.

For more than a century, the wild Kashmir goats have dwelt on Great Orme, a vast limestone headland on the coast of north Wales, and are descended from of a pair of goats gifted by the Shah of Persia to Queen Victoria shortly after her coronation.

Now, the Royal goats have been welcomed as “overlords” by some Llandudno residents, who remarked the creatures had “seized” the town in a series of daily raids documented on social media.

“They run Llandudno now and we just have to accept that as fact,” said Andrew Stuart, who notified North Wales Police after first spotting the four-legged creatures infiltrating the town under the cover of darkness on Friday.

“They sent a patrol car down who turned on the big red lights,” Mr Stuart, a video journalist at Manchester Evening News, wrote on Twitter. “I’m sorry if the goats got arrested. But they were being very naughty.”

The following day, Mr Stuart noted the goats were “back, and gathering in groups of more than two”.

He continued to document the goats’ movements throughout the weekend, eventually writing a post echoed by many, declaring: “I, for one, welcome our new goat overlords.”

“Growing up in Llandudno, I always knew the Great Orme mountain goats would be ones to take over in the event of any future apocalyptic dystopia,” said Jeanna Skinner, writing on Twitter.

Another Twitter user wrote: “And so it came to pass that the Great Orme goats captured Llandudno and all who saw them did tremble at their might.”

While the goats are fairly regular uninvited guests in the town, having even faced a cull in the 1990s, there appears to be a general consensus that lockdown has encouraged them to roam further than usual.

“They are curious, goats are, and I think they are wondering what’s going on like everybody else,” town councillor Carol Marubbi told the BBC, adding they had been providing residents with “free entertainment”.

“There are very few visitors on the top [of the Orme], so they have come down in their droves. There isn’t anyone else around so they probably decided they may as well take over.”

Mr Stuart added: “They don’t like people. They usually only come down from the Great Orme when it’s windy, and only the backstreets at the top of Mostyn Street. Now lockdown means it’s empty, they’re going further than ever.”

The goats of Llandudno are not the only animals taking advantage of the absence of humans to venture more often into typically bustling towns and cities.

Wild boars have been spotted in Barcelona, ducks were filmed straying from the Seine to roam the streets of Paris, and a puma was captured by authorities in the Chilean capital, Santiago. And penguins have been enjoying roaming around a Chicago aquarium, where they were filmed visiting their fishy neighbours.

However, scientists have been forced to debunk several false reports, such as those of dolphins in Venetian canals, and elephants lying sprawled in a Chinese tea garden after drinking too much corn wine.

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