Alpacas protecting sheep

Alpacas play an important role as guardian animals protecting flocks from predators.
Photo: Mike Burgess

The South American animals today play an important role as guardian animals protecting flocks from African predators such as the black-backed jackal and caracal. With a strong flock instinct and an inquisitive nature, they harass predators approaching ‘their’ flocks by engaging in one of their few defensive strategies – furious spitting.

Zastron farmer Kobus Breytenbach, who has had mixed results with various predator control techniques including electric fencing and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, is satisfied with his alpacas’ contribution since purchasing them over six months ago.

‘’I am happy with them thus far,’’ he says.

Alpacas are shorn during the shearing season and their fleeces are marketed via recognised wool brokers. With the global rise in animal rights groups and their lobbying powers within various industries including the wool industry, the use of non-lethal predator control methods may increasingly become the norm in South Africa rather than the exception. 

Visit www.alpacas.co.za.