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.
5 comments on “The Cretan Goat, Also Known As The Kri Kri”
I was born and raised in Ηράκλειο am a prehistoric Minoan archaeologist and licensed tour guide for Κρήτη(Crete) and Σαντορίνη(Santorini), live in the USA.
The correct names of the animal are:
Ibex creticus/ aegagrus creticus.
Kri Kri was the name of one female animal presented as a gift to the American president Harry Truman when he had visited Crete. So let’s do our best to not perpetuate the erroneous “name” anymore.
Btw, the particular purebred ibex ( also known as αγρίμι ), lives only in the Samaria gorge. Some small islands around the north coast of Crete have been populated with hybrid species.
Hello Maria, first I want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article. You are absolutely right about the name of the Cretan Mountain goat being Cretan Ibex and its in the Bovidae family of Aegagrus species. Now, to address the points you have raised, I am not sure if you run a blog or not. If you do, then you know that when you are doing your keyword research for an article, you must target the keyword that the readers are using to search for the topic.
According to my keyword research indicator, people are not searching Capra Aegagrus Cretica to search for the Cretan Ibex, But Instead, they are searching for the Cretan mountain goat aka Kri Kri.
So I must use the words that the readers are using if I intend to be found on the internet. I hope you understand and I hope you are not angry about this. I live here in Crete and I do share my experience living here and the things I see. Also here on the Chania side of Crete, we call the Cretan mountain goat just the Kri Kri.
And yes I am familiar with the story of US President Harry Truman when he was given a Cretan mountain goat by Eftihis Protopapadakis in 1950 as a sign of gratitude for the Marsha Plan. The plate that accompanied the Kri Kri to the US read presented to the people of The United States by the people of Apanachori Crete as a mark of Friendship, and gratitude for the Marshal Plan.
So, yes Maria I know the Kri Kri only got that nickname in 1950 after it got to the US, but that’s what we call it, and it seems like most people on the internet are calling it that, and as I mentioned, I want my article to be found on the internet.
Thank you so much for your comment and for your time.
So interesting I found this article.
My father Paul R Porter was the Deputy Chief of the Marshall Plan in Greece when Kriikri was given to the US and President Truman as appreciation for the aid administered from the Marshall Plan.
Krikri was actually accompanied by my father back to US by plane to her/ his final destination at the Washington National Zoo.
For years, our family and neighborhood kids would visit the zoo each spring and call out to Krikri in its habitat to be warmly greeted with petting and love.
A special memory for me.
Hi Ken, Wow that’s amazing. Thank you for reading and commenting on my article glad to hear you found it interesting, and that it gave you sweet memories.
I wish you and your family a happy new year.
Thanks for your reply.
Such out of the blue good stuff from memories and enjoyable history.
My daughter and SOL and friends are going to Crete in June and I will share this article and thread with them.
Maybe I will meet with KriKri again someday.