Kri Kri Goats

About Kri Kri GoatsAbout Kri Kri Goats

The Kri-kri, also known as the Cretan, Agrimi, or Cretan Ibex goat, are feral goats that are found in the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically only the island of Crete and three small islands just offshore (Dia,Thodorou, and Agii Pantes).

Kri-kri Goats have a light-brownish coat with a darker band around their neck. They have two horns that sweep back from their head. In the wild they are shy and rest during the day. They can leap impressive distances and climb seemingly sheer cliffs.

Kri-kri Goats are not thought to be indigenous to Crete. Most likely they were imported during the time of the Minoan civilization. However, they are now found nowhere else.

As molecular analyses demonstrate, Kri-kri Goats are not, as previously thought, a distinct subspecies of wild goat. Rather, they are a feral domestic goat, derived from the first stocks of goats domesticated in the Levant and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean around 8000-7500 BCE. Therefore, they represent a nearly ten thousand year-old "snapshot" of the first domestication of goats.

Archaeological excavations have found several wall paintings of Kri-kri Goats. Some academics believe that they were even worshiped. On the island, males are often called 'agrimi' (a???ยต?, 'the wild one'), while the name 'Sanada' is used for females. The Kri-kri is a symbol of the island, much used in tourism marketing and official literature.  

By 1960, Kri-kri Goats were under threat. There were under 200 of them. They had been the only meat available to mountain guerillas during the German occupation in World War II. There are still only about 2,000 Kri-kri Goats on Crete and they are considered vulnerable: hunters still seek them for their tender meat, grazing grounds have become scarcer and disease has affected them. Hybridization is also a threat, as the population has interbred with ordinary goats. Hunting them is strictly prohibited.