Although some Icelandic news outlets have the US election results front and center, many others do not. Frettabladið, for example, had news about a local election–not the American one–on the cover, and the English-language paper, The Reykjavík Grapevine, had this article at the top of its website homepage this morning, “Effort Launched to Save Icelandic Goat“:
I’m going to admit that I find this far more interesting than this morning’s post-election coverage in US outlets, and now know a lot more than I did when I woke up about the Icelandic goat, which is actually an endangered species. There are only about 800 Icelandic goats left in the country, many of which live on a farm in Háafell in western Iceland, which you can visit. (Roadtrip. Now.)
A few facts about the Icelandic goat that I learned from the Icelandic Goat Conservation Center video embedded in the Grapevine article:
- Goats–at least Icelandic ones–have dispositions more similar to dogs than sheep.
- Children who are lactose intolerant can safely drink goat’s milk.
- Icelandic goat wool is as soft as cashmere.
Some interesting facts about the farm at Háafell:
- The couple who run the farm, Jóhanna Bergmann Þorvaldsdóttir and Þorbjörn Oddsson, “had a traditional mixed farm until the year 2000 when they started focusing solely on the preservation of the goats. Jóhanna secured the last four hornless goats in Iceland, then on the brink of exctinction, and managed to breed them back to a sustainable population.”
- “It is necessary to breed bald and horned goat together in order to get a healthy and fertile strain with diverse colour variations. Jóhanna works diligently to reduce inbreeding with precision and skill and cooperation with vetenarians and geneticists. “
The Icelandic Goat Conservation Center is currently raising funds to support the farm at Háafell and expand its facilities. They would like to add a kitchen where goat products–“delicious cheeses and other treats”–can be produced. I recommend watching the video in the Grapevine article above–the baby goats are adorable. And if you’d like to donate toward the farm’s €3,000 goal, you can do so here for the next 55 days.