It was mid morning on a Tuesday when the phone started to ring. The Alpacas of Montana phone line receives all sorts of interesting calls from people across the world, but never before had we received a call aboutwild alpacas. Someone in Whitehall, Montana found our number on the internet and gave us a ring wondering if we’d have any idea about what to do with nearly 2 dozen wild alpacas that were roaming the National Forest Land. Knowing that alpacas are human-made and cannot survive alone due to their inability to protect themselves, we figured the alpacas they were seeing were misidentified and were actually llamas or that there was a mix of the two. James and Sarah made the trek up to Whitehall with their trailer and harbored excitement for what they might find. James knew that the camelids must have been domesticated at some point, because there’s a next to zero chance that alpacas are born in the wild, as they are human-made creatures. Whitehall, Montana is home to basically all of the types of large predators that would be inclined to eat an alpaca for lunch: mountain lions, bears, bobcats, linx, etc. When James and Sarah found the herd, there was a mix of alpacas and llamas. Without a doubt, the llamas were acting as protection to the alpacas, but regardless, both alpacas and llamas are at a large disadvantage in the wild--especially against those larger predators. This is where our Lucy Lou came from and she’s been with us ever since.
Holly was also one of the 6 llamas that were rescued after this wild call. Holly is a very shy llama around people, but a fearless guardian. She puts out warning calls to the alpacas and the dogs and ensures everyone is safe at all times. Llamas can weigh up to 600 pounds and often get a bad rep from the public, but they’re quite sweet creatures. People tend to think they’re mean and aggressive and that they’re likely to spit and stomp on you, but that’s so far from the truth. If we weren’t to acclimate our dogs to people, a bad outcome would probably ensue -- it’s the same for llamas. They just need to be shown they’re in a safe environment and be given the opportunity to build trust. Since Holly started living at the farm, she’s never spit or been aggressive to any people. She’s just a docile, sweet lady.
(Left) Holly when she first arrived to the farm (Right) Holly much happier after being shorn
When Holly came to the farm, we had a llama breeder come by and they told us that she is a typical Argentinen llama. Apparently Argentinen llamas are short, stocky, thick and not meant for trekking, which is what the US usually breeds llamas for. She’s a strong guardian with amazing instincts. Because of this, she is set to be the first llama bred at Alpacas of Montana! Since she’s such a great guard llama, we’re hoping to raise her baby to be a guard animal as well. Lots of people with alpacas want and need a guard animal and don’t want to get a guard dog, but llamas are a great alternative. Holly is scheduled to be bred May 1st, 2022 and we can’t wait to have her sweet baby on the farm.
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