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Guard Lamas a New Zealander's perspective
This page was created after an article appeared in the
Zealand, Rodney Times newspaper on Tuesday 31 July 2001 promoting camelids as guard animals."A single alpaca or llama makes a superb sheep flock guard against DOGS, says retired Red Beach businesswoman Margaretha Western."
is incorrect. It's common knowledge that DOGS generally hunt in packs. The average
single llama has little to no chance of defending itself against two DOGS, so how can it
possibly defend a flock of sheep? As an alpaca is about 1/2 the size of a llama, how can
it possibly be expected to fight off, let alone survive a DOG attack?
"I had a 28 month old, 260 lb llama killed
by dogs in the middle of the
nite. They literally ran him to death. Some (in my opinion very few) llamas will be aggressive towards dogs but most of them run for their lives as they are designed to do as prey animals. Two dogs (considered a pack) are not intimidated at all even if the llama goes towards them. They just work them from each side until they wear them down just as you see lions and tigers do on TV. It is one of the most horrible things I have ever experienced and I would hope this does not happen to any other llama owner."
Glenda Steinke Mt Silcox Llamas mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org "I was recently in California, where my friends live among sheep and other farmers," she says. "I noticed that among the sheep flocks there always seemed to be one llama or alpaca, and was told they won't let any dogs near the stock, and can kick a marauder to death." Margaretha Western I checked with American friends as I hadn't ever heard of alpaca being used as guardians. "Over 20 years of experience raising llamas and alpacas allows me to answer your question regarding their use as guardians. In the USA, the main predator of llamas and alpacas is the domestic and/or feral dog. I have never heard of an alpaca being used as a guard animal. Most alpaca breeders that I know have either guard dogs or guard llamas......alpacas simply do NOT have the temperament to be a guardian. Their instincts are more sheep like and, therefore, are usually terrified of canines......unless, however, they are raised with dogs. They do learn to accept their own dogs as do llamas. A llama, while a good guardian against coyotes and single dogs, does not stand a chance against two or more dogs.. As a final comment, using an alpaca as a guard animal is about as effective as using a ewe."
Wally White Columbine Llamas Durango, Colorado "In view of the 54-odd Rodney smallholdings and farms which have suffered DOG attacks on stock in the past year....." How many of these 54 attacks were by lone DOGS? Guardian Llamas are used in America primarily against coyotes which are smaller and hunt singly. So until New Zealand has a wild coyote population, why create a problem by twisting the reality of Guardian Llamas as an excuse to sell single lamas.
"We use llamas for guards here in
the States against coyotes as they do not hunt in packs. But we are all aware that a
pack of dogs most certainly will kill llamas. The way we most usually handle dog
problems is by the SSS rule. Shot, shovel and shut up".
Lamas are herd animals and condemning them to a solitary life, ill equipped to defend New Zealand's flocks from DOGS is nothing short of cruelty and neglect. I'm disappointed that these few thoughtless words could lead to the abuse of our camelid friends by giving the public perception that any lama regardless of breeding, training or species can fend off DOGS.
Julie Insley Rangemore Llama Farm
The full version of this misleading and inaccurate report follows with Letters to the Editor.
Times Tuesday 31 July 2001
For more information phone 09 4077107 or
Thanks Penny for bringing this to my attention and thanks to all those who wrote to the Editor, they were inundated with emails and only printed a couple as they all had a similar theme "Lamas aren't effective dog control".
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