I was recently fortunate enough to be invited up North to rural Lancashire to meet a herd of breeding alpacas.
And what a great day it was too. It’s certainly not every day you get up close to one of these fascinating creatures even though their popularity is well on the rise with an estimated 20,000 now living in the UK.
Alpacas are bred for their unique fibre which is hypoallergenic so in great demand. They share the same family (the Camelids) as llamas and vicuñas, with their origins high-up in the Andean Mountains of Peru over 3000m above sea level.
So often as vets we see exotic or different-looking animals bought or even bred on a whim, usually as a result of celebrity endorsement, which can have serious repercussions on the animal, i.e. not researched properly and subsequently dumped when it doesn’t do ‘what it says on the tin’ or becomes ‘boring’.
So as a non-indigenous species to the British Isles it was a pleasure to see these animals so sensitively bred and cared for by Angela Whittle, who is clearly and proudly sensitive to their every behavioural need, dietary requirement and only lets potential purchasers walk away with one of her prized beasts if she’s 100% happy with their attitude and the best intentions.
The Sudell Alpacas are definitely a group of happy alpacas whom each display unique personalities, coat colours and haircuts, and all correctly emotionally stimulated by their beautiful idyllic settings, to sounds of curlews and lapwings, and in perfect shape too.
I was filming an episode of ‘My Pet Shame’ due to be aired on Sky One in May/June about alpaca behaviour, but if you’re ever in Lancashire and you’d like to know more about alpacas, get in touch with Angela – she’s a true inspiration and it was a great pleasure to meet her and the herd.
Check out the Sudell Alpacas website here.
For more photos of the alpacas please visit my Facebook Page here.