The Great Orme goats are a much-loved symbol of Llandudno. Although they usually live on the Great Orme, they are often spotted around the town during winter and spring. In 2020 and 2021, the goats made international news when they strayed further than usual because of the quieter conditions during Covid restrictions.
The goats on the Great Orme were originally a gift to Lord Mostyn from Queen Victoria and have roamed in a wild state for about 100 years.
Although once in the ownership of Lord Mostyn, they are now regarded as wild animals and no one is legally responsible for them.
The Council acts in the interests of the goats’ welfare when they are on our land. We are not responsible for any damage they may cause and we cannot become involved in removing goats from private property.
There has been much discussion over many years about the goats’ welfare, management and impact on nearby properties.
Several organisations have an interest in the goats due to land ownership, conservation or animal welfare: the Council, Mostyn Estates Ltd, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the RSPCA.
By 2000, the population had increased dramatically with 220 goats in the herd. The issues became more acute and it was clear that some form of management was needed.
In 2001, the Council resolved to reduce the herd size over the long term. This has been achieved by:
- relocating groups of animals to conservation organisations and sites in the UK
- using a contraceptive vaccine for birth control
This approach has been widely supported and was developed in partnership with the Animal & Plant Health Agency, RSPCA, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and a local veterinary surgeon.
Financial support for the programme has come from:
- Conwy County Borough Council
- Mostyn Estates Ltd
- Llandudno Town Council
- RSPCA Aberconwy branch
- Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
We will continue with this approach to maintain the herd numbers at a reasonable but viable level, subject to review by the Country Park Management Advisory Group.
In Spring 2021, a number of goats which had roamed as far as Craig y Don were relocated back to the Orme because of concerns for their safety so close to the A470.
12 nannies were relocated to a Bristol conservation project, four billies to the Avon Gorge with Bristol City Council and 13 nannies and one billy were relocated to the Bournemouth cliffs in partnership with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.
Spring 2022 - 15 goats have been rehomed to Bournemouth – the animals travelled well and are settling into their new surroundings. They have joined a herd of other goats which are grazing coastal cliffs for nature conservation, controlling invasive shrubs for the benefit of native wildflowers.
A recent count showed the current population is about 150 goats.
Welfare and Management
As a land manager, the Council is entitled to act on behalf of the animal’s welfare if a wild animal is in distress whilst on our land. We may also act to control populations of wild animals that reside on our land if those animals are not protected by law.
Because the goats are feral animals, we do not have a legal responsibility to keep the goats on the Great Orme by way of fencing or ‘containment’. If the goats cause damage to properties, the property owner should take steps to keep the goats out.
If there is a sick, injured or trapped goat on the Great Orme on private property or Council-managed land, please contact the Country Park staff.
If you see a goat in need of urgent veterinary attention in the town or on private land, please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. Please be aware that the RSPCA is a charity with very limited resources and cannot always provide an ‘emergency services’ type response.