Covid: Lack of contraception sees goats boom in Llandudno

By Chris Dearden
BBC Wales News

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Media caption,
You must be kidding! Llandudno goats back in town

Frisky goats roaming the streets of a north Wales town are booming after not getting contraception due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When food is scarce in spring, the Kashmiri goats venture down from the Great Orme into Llandudno, Conwy, in search of something to eat.

But there are fears for their safety after numbers spiked and they started exploring further in lockdown.

People are being urged to look out for the goats and report any in distress.

The goats, which have come down to the town over the years, became a sensation after being pictured roaming the empty streets during the first lockdown.

Now they are back and exploring further than ever, reaching the far side of town during Wales' latest lockdown, leaving officials worried they may set up in new territory.

But with people now allowed to travel and businesses preparing to reopen, there are fears some may be hit by cars and not make it back to their mountain home.

Image source, Lisa Fisher
Image caption,
There are concerns that the goats could be hit by cars as they lie in quiet roads in Llandudno

While the goats are wild animals, they normally get contraceptive injections to manage their numbers but due to the pandemic, this did not happen last year.

Louise Emery, who represents the Great Orme area of Llandudno on Conwy council, said while the goats normally visited the town in the spring to get food, there were "quite a number now".

She said there were concerns for their safety as some of the goats were venturing further than before.

"There seems to be a rogue herd of goats that have wandered across the town into a completely new area where they have never been... that's a concern," she said.

"It's a great concern at night time, actually, because they tend to wander more at night and the roads have been very quiet.

"Drivers can literally come round the corner and be faced with eight or nine goats in the road."

Media caption,
The curious goats were spotted eating flowers and hedges in people's gardens during the first lockdown

In recent weeks, the goats have been spotted in the Craig y Don area of Llandudno, more than two miles from their home on the Great Orme.

Sally Pidcock, warden of the Great Orme country park, said she was hopeful the goats would eventually return home.

She and her team hope to count the goats and give them contraceptive injections later in the year, if the pandemic conditions allow.

"The majority of the goats travelling through Llandudno and going quite some way from the Great Orme are billy goats," she said.

"Obviously if it's just billy goats that are straying, then by the time of the rut, when they become interested in females again, you would hope that they would be making their way back.

"But this year, the goats have been emboldened by the fact that there are so few people around.

"That's a bit more worrying because it might become a bit more complicated for them to find their way back."

Conwy council said it was monitoring the situation, and appealed to people to look out for the goats, saying anyone who sees one of the animals in distress should call the RSPCA.

Image source, Jean Simkin
Image caption,
The goats have been up to their normal mischief in the town