Sunday 26 May 2019

What do you get when you cross a llama and an alpaca?

Pat Foley with Ethan Dawson,Josh and Daniel Leahy and the new born Huarizo. The Huarizo was born to an Alpaca and a Llama. Photo: Thomas Nolan
Pat Foley with Ethan Dawson,Josh and Daniel Leahy and the new born Huarizo. The Huarizo was born to an Alpaca and a Llama. Photo: Thomas Nolan
Ethan Dawson,Josh and Daniel Leahy and the new born Huarizo. The Huarizo was born to parents an Alpaca and a Llama. Photo: Thomas Nolan
The baby Huarizo born at Pat Foley's park land at Garyhill Co. Carlow. Photo:Thomas Nolan

Danielle Stephens

MEET the huarizo – a cross between a female alpaca and male llama that stunned the owners of the farm resort where she was born.

The unusual new arrival is understood to be the first of its kind born in Ireland and will grow up to be much smaller than her llama father.

Her jet-black face surprised employees at the Southern County Fishing and Family Resort in Carlow yesterday, when she popped her head up from the grass.

"Chris (an employee) was feeding the animals when he saw her little face, so he came running into me saying, 'You'll never guess what's happened,'" said resort owner Patrick Foley.

Pregnant

A year ago, Patrick saw his only llama mating with one of two female alpacas, but he didn't think anything would come of it.

"It was taking too long and they're not the same animal, so I didn't know she was pregnant. I thought she had just eaten too much."

He immediately rang Dublin Zoo to see if this was possible and that he hadn't mixed up the gender of the alpacas.

"They told me that it's extremely rare, but the animals have much of the same genes, so it could happen.

"Then they congratulated me, because it was quite an achievement," added Mr Foley.

The baby huarizo will soon turn a fawn colour, like her parents. She is in "great condition", but her llama father has been separated from the alpacas, in case he turns on the calf.

Mr Foley explained: "With wild animals, you never know how they will react."

The alpacas and the llama have been residents in Carlow for two years and they're one of the big attractions for people coming to visit the wildlife centre.

The resort will run a competition to name the newest edition to the clan, with a free day of fishing going to whoever can come up with the best idea.

People can either ring the resort or email them with any suggestions.

The new birth cheered employees up after one of their emus was stolen from its enclosure two weeks ago.

"We are over the moon. The way we see it, she's a little bonus after losing our emu," said Mr Foley.

The stolen emu hasn't been found, but Mr Foley didn't contact the gardai in the hopes that whoever stole it will have a change of heart.

"I don't want to get anyone in trouble, I just want my emu to be returned safe and sound," he said.

Irish Independent

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