The Cretan Goat, Also Known As The Kri Kri
Today we are going to talk about the Cretan Mountain Goat also known as The Kri Kri. Not to be confused for the domestic goat, the Cretan mountain goat, also known as Agrimi, or the Cretan Ibex, is a feral goat that is found on the mountain areas of Crete.
The Cretan mountain goat is larger than the domestic goat, and it’s light brown with a black band around its neck and a black stripe that goes from head to its tail. The Cretan mountain goat also has long horns that usually sweep back from the head.
Although the Krikris are not so keen on interacting with humans, there have been instances where they have interacted with the domestic goat causing interbreeding, thus threatening the existence of pure Cretan mountain goat.
It’s believed that the Krikris were probably brought to Crete during the Minoan civilization, and there have been present on the island since then.
Serious Measures Had To Be Take To Protect The Cretan Mountain Goat AKA Kri Kri
During the Second World war, the Krikri became the only meat available for the Cretan fighters who had camped in caves up the Cretan white mountains. As a result of Kri Kri’s consumption, the numbers of the Cretan goat went down drastically. By 1960, there were only about 200 Cretan mountain goats on the island.
Serious measures had to be put in place to ensure that the Krikris don’t become extinct, and in 1962, the area around the Samaria gorge became a national park, and hunting of the Krikis became illegal. Now, that has not stopped some Hunters from hunting this precious goat, and it’s believed that is the reason why the numbers are not rising as quickly as expected.
There Are About 2,000 Cretan Mountain Goats
By 2019 it was estimated that the number of Krikris is around 2,000 now, that is not a high number considering the animal has been protected since 1962, of course, there are other factors like weather, diseases, and of course interbreeding with the domestic goat.
A lot of measures have been taken to make sure that Krikri is separated from the domestic goat. The measures include a small island near the tourist resort at Agia Marina to be consecrated and set apart for the Kri Kris. We call this islet the goat island, and it’s a protected area, which helps the Krikris thrive and flourish in peace.
The official name for the island is Theodoro and it’s a very mysterious island with humans not being able to visit the island except for just once a year when the small church on the island celebrates the name day of it’s Saint Theodoros. which is celebrated on the 13th of June. Apart from that day, no humans are allowed on the island.
On the day of celebration of Saint Theodoros, the local council does arrange for boat trips for people who want to take part in this rare celebration. There is usually a small fee of about 5 or 10 Euros per person. The Church services start very early so you would have to be up early and be in the boat before 7 am.
The Myth Surrounding Theodoro Islet Crete
And now the most interesting part of Theodoro island, it’s believed that what you see is not actually an island but the remnants of a monster. See it’s believed that the area of Agia Marian and Platania, was in danger of being destroyed by a huge monster, and the young and strong warriors of Crete came together to try and save the village from this terrible beast.
But their efforts were rendered futile and the monster came closer and closer, at this time, the residents resigned to their fate of being destroyed by this merciless beast., But the women of the village took a different approach, they decided to kneel down and pray to God to save them, and as they prayed, the monster with a loud groan started turning into a rock.
They watched with amazement as the beast sat still in the middle of the sea, and as time went by, they saw vegetation growing on the rock and they named the island gift from God (Theodoro) As you drive by, in Agia Marina, you can still see the beast with its mouth open ready to attack as it transformed into a rock.
Away From The Legend Of Theodoro Islet
OK, back to reality, presently the island of Theodoro is a protected wildlife sanctuary set aside for the Krikris, and public access is strictly prohibited apart from that one day in a year, that we mentioned above.
Kri Kris are also found on two other small islands and they are the island of Dia also known as the Paximathi, by the locals, they nicknamed it after the dry bread because it’s believed that the island is actually a dragon that likes eating dry bread and that is why it’s so dry lol (of course this is Greece we must have a myth about it lol)
Kri Kris are also found on the islet of Agio Pantes which is located on the north coast of Lasithi Eastern Crete, near Agios Nikolaos.
The Cretan mountain Goat is a sacred animal, its believed that at some point in Minoan times, the goat was worshiped, and treated as a sacred creature. It’s also a cultural heritage and you can see it’s a symbol all over Crete, it’s also used a lot in Tourism promotions. In museums, you will also see many artifacts from Minoan times depicting the Cretan Goat.
The Cretan Mountain Goat is an amazing animal. I am particularly impressed by their expertise in mountain climbing, they prefer to chill hanging on the steepest cliffs or just standing on a rock thousand of feet high from the ground. In my opinion, the Kriris can give even the most experienced mountain climber a run for his/her money lol.
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my article today. And now I would love to hear from you, have you seen the Krikris, and if so, what do you think about them? please leave your comments below and I would be more than happy to interact with you.
Thank you so much for your time.