In Snowdonia, two alpacas, Emilio and Domenico, have been drafted in to keep away predators from sheep grazing at the Hafod Y Llan farm at Nant Gwynant. Farmer Arwyn Owen said the number of lamb deaths had fallen since the vigilant camelids were recruited.
Meanwhile, in Surrey, an animal care centre near Ewell brought in three alpacas to deter foxes from attacking the resident lambs. ‘The alpacas do look appealing but you wouldn’t want to mess with them,’ said the centre’s Zoe Brown.
Alpacas have also regularly been employed to protect chickens. It is thought the low humming noise they emit when grazing has a soothing effect on the birds and may even boost egg production levels.
The Sunday Mail of South Australia reports: ‘Barachel Alpacas, near Port Giles, illustrate why alpacas are often referred to as environmentally friendly, as with their soft feet they are kind to the earth.’
Latest celebrity alpaca owners: John ‘Bergerac’ Nettles, who has alpacas on his 12-acre property in Devon. Meanwhile, Hollywood television producer and writer David Wiemers has written a children’s book about alpacas. The four main alpaca characters – one of which is really a sheep – are based on the alpacas owned by Roy and Sue Hubbard at Fluff Farm, just outside Bourton-on-the-Water.
A surfer called Domingo Pianezzi from Lima claims to have trained the first surfing alpaca. The tufty Pisco wears a flotation jacket to help him cope with conditions far removed from his natural mountain habitat. Pisco now has his own Facebook page on which he reveals his wish to match his skills against a skateboarding bulldog called Tillman. ‘My dream would be to have a real contest with this guy,’ writes Pisco. ‘But seeing as I am in Peru and he is a dog, this cannot happen’.