It was a bear who said that sometimes, it is the smallest things that take up the most room in our hearts, and this was very much the case in the recent Es Vedra goats controversy. Ibicencos are not know to become too engaged during the off season, switching off from the world during the winter months when the island is returned to them. Nothing much ever happens but their slumber was rudely awakened by the drastic and unnecessary cull of the wild goats living on the famous and imposing rock that anchors the islands identity, Es Vedra.
For anybody that has visited Es Vedra and sailed around its powerful, striking presence, the first sign of the elusive Es Vedra goats presence is their smell. Its a distinct aroma that is associated with all wild goats and the ones on Es Vedra, are as mysterious as the rock they live on. Nobody really knows how they got there, but everybody now knows how they were taken out. A team of 4 riflemen were sent in undercover by the Palma Government to shoot them dead, leaving the unfortunate animals to rot away where they fell. The manner in which they were left to die, rightly evoked disgust and dismay from the local community, who took to social and print media to vent their anger.
No animal deserves to die the way the Es Vedra goats were slaughtered. Ibicencos love and respect nature and all its fauna. The goats, like Ibicenco life, are allowed to live in peace and as they were doing no harm on Es Vedra, except for an environmental opinion that they were destroying the indigenous flora that they were feeding on, posed no threat to anybody. They had become a tourist attraction, as to catch a glimpse of an Es Vedra goat was an uncommon sight, due to their shy personality. Local politicians seized on the public outrage to score points off each other and one local Councillor deemed responsible for sanctioning the cull, complained to the police after threats of violence were made against him. It also emerged that a local farmer had offered to re home the goats.
There is no love lost between Ibiza and the Balearic administrative capital of Palma, its Shelbyville neighbor to the west of the island. More fuel was added to the fire when it emerged that it was a Palma bureaucrat that signed the Goats death warrant. Little did she know the political storm her rash decision was to create, but its the small things in life that can trip you up. Then in the midst of all the blame and anger the theory of chaos was evoked as the goats miraculously re-appeared on the island. The Chaos theory dictates that small alterations in life can give rise to greater consequences and the sudden re-appearance of the goats, is sure to once again stir the blood of the islands passion.
Whether the marksmen failed to do their job properly, or the goats hid out in a secret cave which the uncharted rock may well harbour, as a hermit preist once lived there, the Es Vedra goats are firmly back in the limelight. Another theory is that the Goats now reportedly present on Es Vedra, were recently placed there as a two finger salute to Palma and to engage the public further on the issue. The return of the Es Vedra Goats brings a smile to ones face, and an example of the rich and complex essence of the local culture. With the possibility of a National election in June, due to the fragmented nature of the Spanish parliament, the “cabras de Es Vedra” could become an unlikely political football and we may not hear the last of their remarkable story.