March 31, 2020 / 4:12 PM / 2 months ago

Goats in a ghost town - animals take over deserted Welsh resort

LLANDUDNO, Wales (Reuters) - A herd of Kashmir goats have invaded a Welsh seaside resort after the coronavirus lockdown left the streets deserted.

The animals, who normally roam free on a nearby headland jutting out into the Irish Sea, have instead wandered into Llandudno where they have spent the past three days feasting on garden hedges and flowers.

Like other countries affected by the global coronavirus crisis, the United Kingdom has imposed strict social distancing measures including shop and school closures, and the authorities are asking everyone to stay at home except for essential travel.

With the streets of Llandudno unnaturally quiet, the goats have been free to wander the streets undisturbed.

Town councillor Carol Marubbi said the goats didn’t normally come into town unless the weather was awful, but on this occasion she said they probably realised something unusual was going on because there were so few people around.

“I think they’re probably feeling a bit lonely and they have come down to have a look around,” she told Reuters by telephone.

Kashmir goats have lived on the Great Orme promontory near Llandudno since the days of Queen Victoria, when the species became popular in Britain due to a fashion for shawls made from their soft cashmere wool.

Marubbi said the herd of about 150 goats, some of whom had kids in February, were a well-known local attraction and most residents did not mind having their hedges nibbled by them.

“I’m a big fan,” she said. “I love them because they are characters.”

Slideshow (8 Images)

With millions of people stuck at home sharing light-hearted content online to alleviate the tedium of the lockdown, images and video of the goats roving around the streets were a hit on social media, with #goats and #Llandudno trending on Twitter.

“Just love this. Looks like they are definitely in charge,” wrote Welsh Twitter user Sue Foster, a former primary school headteacher.

“Who we gonna call? Goat busters.”

Reporting by Carl Recine in Llandudno and Estelle Shirbon in London; editing by Stephen Addison

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