Monday, August 08, 2005

Bolivia And Beyond: Alpaca Mania Wordlwide! Llama Updates

picture from Visit Cumbria Web-Site

Let me start by saying that I am fascinated by Alpaca's. It might be some deep connection with my Aymara ancestors - but then again, I don't exactly have a sheep jones (thank God!) and I am partly Basque. Alpaca's simply put - completely rock!! Llamas are cool and all, but the Alpaca just has a certain attitude that puts it over the top!

So here is a roundup of Alpaca stories: Those wily Bolivian Alpaca rustlers are crossing over into Peru, and stealing the locals' animals to much consternation. The Peruvian government is proposing a high tech solution to deter such inter-Andean outrages, microchips for Alpaca's.

In the land Down Under, Alpaca Mania has reached new heights as the Australian Alpaca Association's page can atest to. According to the B.B.C. there are already 30,000 animals, putting them just behind Bolivia and Peru. Aussie shepherds are using the Andean camelid in place of dogs to protect the herds from predators: "When they sight danger, alpacas emit an ear-piercing shriek that alerts the sheep and also the farmer. They then try to corner predators and will trample them with their forelegs." Dang!!!

The Brits also seem to have an Alpaca jones, as the United Kingdom's herds are on the rise.

And in Llama news and still in the U.K., one enterprising Midlands farmer uses his two llamas to protect his Christmas trees. The attack-llamas have been a big success. And for relaxation what's a llama -or two- to do, but go down to the pub for a pint or two. And lastly, in the United Arab Emirates, scientists in 1998 succesfully bred a "Cama", half llama, half camel. Little 'Rama', pictured here, as of 2002 was doing well, Matter of fact, he seems to have a healthy libido we are told "having already copulated with several guanacos (South American relatives of the camel), although no pregnancies have resulted." Makes for one happy Cama, and inter-camelid love continues on.