Gold Coast Bulletin
By: Nicholas McElroy, Gold Coast Bulletin
Photo: By Richard Gosling
Photo Caption: Photo of baby alpacas at Mountview Alpaca Farm.
FEISTY Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow is touting a not-so-secret weapon to combat feral foxes and wild dogs that are wreaking havoc — alpacas.
Residents have complained council officers who killed 66 foxes and 35 wild dogs last year are not doing enough to stop the feral pests from attacking and killing pets, native wildlife and farm animals.
Cr Crichlow responded by saying alpacas — notorious for scaring off other creatures with their highly accurate spitting — are effective guard animals and an alternative to traditional traps. Her comments were the latest in a string of animal-related debates the veteran local politician has bought into — and at least one property owner is furious at Cr Crichlow’s response.
“You can buy a good alpaca for about $350 (but) you have to have them desexed,” Cr Crichlow told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“In the country it is a well-known fact to get an alpaca (to scare off foxes). That’s to protect chickens, sheep and everything else.”
But Parkwood resident Kim Piccoli, who is fed up with foxes mauling and killing her geese and ducks, said the advice was “ridiculous’’ and the council was not helping.
“This year I have had a goose killed, a goose mauled, ducks’ heads ripped off and bodies left. The possum population has gone down,” Ms Piccoli said. “Council and Animal Control are not helping with this problem and we are given ridiculous comments, such as to buy an alpaca.”
Cr Crichlow said there was “no reason” people couldn’t put alpacas, which are close relatives of camels, in their suburban back yards.
Investigations indicated that despite some thinking Cr Crichlow’s advice was silly, many others were already heeding the alpaca message.
Mountview Alpaca Farm staff said at least one property owner a week was buying alpacas from the farm at Sarabah, near Canungra, to guard their pets and farm animals.
“You need a male alpaca. They have a lot of bravado and they like to be protectors,” said alpaca farm worker Christian Roberts.
“The foxes, they have no chance, they’re just terrified of them. Alpacas are incredible kickers and they spit with incredible accuracy from about two metres — they’re deadly accurate and they spit bile from the bottom of their stomach.”
He said he had recently seen a dingo sent packing from the alpaca farm just by the sound of one of the South American animals.
Read the original and view the photos here.