Tens of thousands of goats munch Greek island into crisis


In this Sept. 8, 2019, photo, goats walk by a car on a road near Kato Meria village, on Samothraki island, northeastern Greece. Goat herding is a way of life on Samothraki, a hard-to-reach Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea, but experts and locals are working together to control the animal population that has left its mountains barren and islanders under the threat of mudslides. (AP Photo/Iliana Mier)

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SAMOTHRAKI, Greece (AP) — With oak and chestnut forests, waterfalls and rugged coastline, Samothraki has a wild beauty and a remoteness that sets it apart from other Greek islands.

There are no package holidays here or even a reliable ferry service to the mainland. Island authorities hope to achieve UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status. Yet still, the natural environment is under threat from an insatiable assailant.

Semi-wild goats outnumber human inhabitants 15-fold, and they are munching stretches of Samothraki into a moonscape. After decades of trying to find a solution, experts and locals are working together to find a 21st-century way to save the island’s ecology and economy.

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