With oak and chestnut forests, waterfalls, and rugged coastline, Samothraki has a wild beauty and remoteness that sets it apart from other Greek islands.
There are no package holidays here or even a reliable ferry service to the mainland. Island authorities hope to turn it into an internationally recognised nature reserve – but that nature is under threat from droves of some insatiable assailants.
Goats outnumber human inhabitants 12-to-1 and are munching stretches of Samothraki into a moonscape.
Semi-wild, they roam across the island roughly three times the size of Manhattan. Their unchecked overgrazing is causing crisis-level erosion.
The Sustainable Samothrace Association has been working for more than a decade to educate locals on the issue and propose solutions to the goats, and lately also sheep, overgrazing.
For its vice-president, forestry expert George Maskalidis, the situation has reached a tipping point as overgrazing has intensified erosion across the island causing massive landslides when it rains.
“There are no big trees to hold the soil. And it’s a big problem, both financial and real because (the mud) will come down on our heads,” he said.