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The Townspeople Went Inside To Shelter. Then The Goats Arrived.

"Everybody loves the goats, but they make an awful mess," one resident told BuzzFeed News.

Posted on March 31, 2020, at 6:07 p.m. ET

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Mountain goats roam the streets of Llandudno on Tuesday.

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Were you devastated when you learned that, no, in fact, dolphins hadn’t turned up in Venice’s canals and drunken elephants weren't living it up in a village in China's Yunnan province?

Well, BuzzFeed News is able to confirm that after 200 years of being mostly confined to limestone bluff, a pack of wild Kashmiri goats — seizing an opportunity presented by Britain's national lockdown in response to the coronavirus — has taken its rightful place as rulers of Llandudno, a seaside town in northwest Wales.

With the town now deserted as residents shelter inside, packs of goats have descended on the picturesque resort town, blocking traffic, grazing on people’s hedges, lazing about on the church’s green, and strutting by shuttered shops like Ewe Felty Thing, a local boutique that sells all things wool.

Photos of the goats have gone viral in recent days after Andrew Stuart, a video producer with the Manchester Evening News, posted a thread about his encounter with the goats on Twitter.

🐐🚨 Monday goat update: they’re back. Again. And they dgaf. (H/t @86_leroy)

I, for one, welcome our new goat overlords

According to local lore, the goats are descendants of a pair that were gifted to Queen Victoria by the Shah of Persia for her coronation in 1837. Local historian Eve Parry, however, thinks that the goats gifted to Queen Victoria may have only been added to a pack that was already there. Either way, the goats are considered royal, known around these parts as the Windsor herd.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

The relationship between the goats and the people of Llandudno has long been complex, residents told BuzzFeed News.

"It's kind of a two-pronged thing. So we love them. Everybody loves the goats, but they make an awful mess,” said Tim Garbutt, who splits his time between Yorkshire and his holiday home in the town. “They eat all of your nice plants and they shit everywhere, quite frankly.”

“Goats don’t have the greatest odor,” added Simon Kendall, who has spent years defending his property from the Windsor goats. “They definitely don't use deodorant.”

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Kendall has lived up on the Great Orme, the hill where the goats roam, for 10 years. Kendall’s biggest beef, so to speak, isn’t the goats’ smell, but instead that the animals, like other royals, can be quite discerning.

“They won’t touch daffodils,” said Kendall. “They’re really, really selective. So they really like bay leaves and they just devour my bay trees, they leave nothing. They would probably be really nice on the grill, but I wouldn’t do that.”

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Sandra Rickards, a native of Llandudno, has been tracking the goats’ invasion on her walks to and from her job at the pharmacy in the town’s center.

Rickards isn’t too bothered by the town’s new goat overlords. A little bit starstruck, she added, “I’m going to try to get a selfie with them tomorrow.”


Eve Parry's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.