Goats are everywhere in Anguilla, grazing in grassy areas, resting in the shade, tethered in front of houses, and wandering the streets, alone or in herds. I was amazed by the number of roaming goats and was soon advised- they are not all goats! Some are sheep. How do you tell the difference?
Tails up goats, tails down sheep!
The Anguilla goats represent about 65% of the Island’s animal population. The goats are as resilient as the islanders themselves, having survived drought and hurricanes. Goats have long been domesticated by local farmers as well as raised in the wild, which is their natural habitat.
Goats are an important part of the Anguilla’s culture. The children of Anguilla are brought up raising goats from an early age, taking them out of their pens before school and returning them after school for water and feed.
The goats of Anguilla were recognized in 2004 by the Anguilla Philatelic Bureau, who produced an issue of stamps, “Goats of Anguilla” as a fitting tribute to all, sundry, horned and bald. The beautiful stamps, produced from the photographs of Kandid and Chris Mason, are in acknowledgement of the goats’ significant contribution to Anguilla’s economy and the important role they played in the survival of the local population over the years.
The goats of Anguilla have been celebrated by artists, as well. Goats have been the central theme of many local artists paintings, which can be found in local galleries.
Jo-Anne Mason wrote and illustrated a wonderful children’s book (it is not just for children, though!) PADDY, THE GOAT THAT SAVED ANGUILLA. The book is full of beautiful illustrations inspired by the beauty of Anguilla and its’ goats. It is available through her website http://www.jo-annemason.com/ and on Amazon.com