Goats in the News: Saving the Icelandic Goat

The Icelandic Goat or “settlement goat”, is an ancient breed of domestic goat thought to be of Norwegian origin and dating back to the settlement of Iceland over a thousand years ago.  Around a hundred years ago, numbers began to dwindle and the breed was on the verge of extinction.  Although numbers fluctuated, by the end of the twentieth century, numbers were in what appeared to be terminal decline.

Casanova the Icelandic Goat
– Image from indiegogo.com

That was until Jóhanna Bergmann Þorvaldsdóttir made it her mission to save them, pretty much single handedly.  She left her job as a nurse, and began breeding goats.  Although the income was small, the flock grew to several hundred.  However, following Iceland’s financial collapse, the family farm of Háafell in Borgarbyggðthe, was at risk of foreclosure.  As a last ditch effort to save the flock, the family launched a crowdfunding campaign.  Partly thanks to a starring appearance in the fourth series of Game of Thrones, nearly £90,000 was raised to keep the dragon from the door.

– Video by Shinonoiru on youtube.com

So the story has a happy ending:  the farm is now thriving with sales of milk, cheese and meat and the media flock to see the flock and report the tale.  And the numbers of Icelandic Goats have increased from less than a hundred in 1962, to nearly 1,500 today.  Even Casanova, the goat that was snatched by Drogon the Dragon, lived to tell the tale.

Jóhanna Bergmann Þorvaldsdóttir with an Icelandic Goat
– Image by Art Bicnick