April 26 (UPI) -- Mauro Morandi, who became known as "Italy's Robinson Crusoe" while living alone on a Mediterranean island for more than 30 years, says he will end his battle with authorities and move to a small apartment this week.
The 81-year-old man faced several threats of eviction from the La Maddalena national park authorities, which have been managing the island of Budelli since 2016. The authorities want to turn the island into a hub for environmental education.
"I have given up the fight. After 32 years here, I feel very sad to leave. They told me they need to do work on my house and this time it seems to be for real." he said, according to The Guardian.
In 1989, Morandi's catamaran broke down as he reached Budelli, an island off Sardinia, on his voyage to the south Pacific. He abandoned his sailing trip when he found that the island's caretaker was retiring. He took over the job, settling in a former World War II shelter overlooking the bay.
National park authorities have accused Morandi of making changes to the shelter without the required permits.
The private company that owned the island and hired Morandi as caretaker went bankrupt and planned to sell the island to Michael Harte, a New Zealand businessman, but the deal fell through in 2013. A judge ruled in 2016 that the island belonged to the government.
Morandi, who is originally from Modena in central Italy, said he was moving into a small apartment on the nearby island of La Maddalena.
"I'll be living in the outskirts of the main town, so will just go there for shopping and the rest of the time keep myself to myself. My life won't change too much, I'll still see the sea," Morandi said, according to The Irish Times.
Tourists can visit the island during the day by boat, but have been banned from walking on Budelli's pink beach.
Several petitions in support of keeping Morandi on the island have garnered thousands of signatures. On Sunday, many of his supporters expressed their disappointment on his Facebook page.
"There are no words. The destruction of the paradise will begin," Carmelia Mangano wrote.