Annual alpaca cuddling approaches along with National Alpaca Day

Taranaki Daily News
By: Jane Matthews
Photo: By Jane Matthews

Photo Caption: Six month old Arlo the alpaca and Bella Hickford, 3, love each other's cuddles.

Meet Arlo the alpaca. He's six months old, extremely friendly, takes pellets out of your hands and is one of the many alpacas that will be celebrated this Sunday.

May 7 is National Alpaca Day and Arlo and his owners at Moonacre Alpacas are taking part and inviting the public to come celebrate with them.

Amanda Bethune, who helps on the Alpaca farm, said Arlo  was one of the many alpacas that  would be available for a cuddle or two.

"My youngest daughter Bella, he'll just go straight up to her and she can give him cuddles and pats," Bethune said.

"He's a very friendly little boy."

The celebratory day will consist of a sausage sizzle, baby alpaca, better known as cria, cuddles and feeding, and an overall alpaca experience.

Owner Ruth Prankerd said people  didn't know much about alpaca.

"People do have the wrong perception of alpacas," Prankerd said.

"They don't spit at you like llamas do. They can spit and if you're in the road, look out, it's not very nice - you've just got to be careful, just like any animal."

Moonacre Alpacas has around 60 alpaca and 15 cria  that they breed for their fleeces and Bethune shows some of them too.

She said National Alpaca Day, which is free entry at Moonacre Alpacas, is all about showing that.

"It's basically all the alpaca people in New Zealand can open on the day if they want to," Bethune said.

"It's just to celebrate the alpaca and what we can do with their fleeces."

Prankerd knits with alpaca fibre and sells her creations in a wee shop on the property.

"I've always been an alpaca fan," she said. "It was just Ruth's Cards and Crafts, and then I started knitting some alpaca and put some scarves out there and just took off."

Moonacre Alpacas celebrated National Alpaca Day last year and Prankerd said they had a lot of visitors.

"I was still in my slippers, I wasn't even really prepared," she said. "About 9.30am it started and we never stopped 5pm."

Prankerd said they loved it so much they decided to do it again.

Moonacre Alpacas  is based at 506a Rawhitiroa Rd, Eltham and is open from 10am to 4pm on the day.

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