Animal sanctuary rescues alpaca left in 'terrible condition'
An unusual mission helped to save a young alpaca which is now roaming the pastures around Greenhithe.
Alfie is just nine months old, and was abandoned for five days without food or water.
Animal charity Artisan Rare breeds, based near Dartford, was called by a concerned animal lover after she noticed the alpaca, a deer and two goats looking in a bad way in Telford, Shropshire.
Charity director Wayne May began raising £200 to travel to the starving creatures and bring them back and made the 350-mile round trip on Friday.
Mr May found the young alpaca, or cria as baby alpacas are known, underweight and with clumps of wool missing.
Mr May said: “He’s in terrible condition, but we’ll soon fix that. It will take between four and five months for his wool to grow back, though.
“He is unbelievable, really. He’s so tame, and just lets you do anything with him.
“We decided to call him Alfie, and he will stay with us for life now.”
As repayment for his lodgings, the alpaca, which is from the same family of animals as llamas and camels, will become an ambassador for Artisan Rare Breeds.
He will be taken along to fairs and charity events to raise awareness about the charity.
Mr May, 42, added: “Alfie’s already quite a show-stopper. We take him on walks down quiet roads to get him used to the sight and sound of cars, and he’s caused a few traffic jams now where people have stopped in their cars to have a look at him.”
When he is not working, Alfie will join sheep in grazing the fields around north-west Kent. Alpacas are natural guardians of sheep; they keep foxes away and tend to get on very well with their fellow ruminants, but they do like to be among their own kind as well.
Mr May said: “We don’t plan on breeding from Alfie, but a friend of mine has an
alpaca we can have who will make a lovely little lady friend for him. We’re expecting to get her close to Christmas.”
Mr May believes he knows who owns Alfie but has been unable to trace him. The owner has been reported to trading standards.
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