Herd of alpacas worth R1?mln stolen

2013-11-07 00:00

A STOCKTHEFT case with a difference has investigators stumped as to who stole the strange livestock and where they are now.

In what appears to be the first case of its kind in the province, a herd of 30 alpacas, worth the tidy sum of R1 million, has been stolen from the farm Versameling in Lidgetton.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, farmer Chris Griffith said the animals were stolen in two batches.

“On August 24, 21 alpacas were taken and on August 30, another nine went.”

Griffith described alpacas as having “very special” wool. “You find it in all major fashion centres and it’s very sought-after. It’s a very soft wool.”

He said he had brought his original herd in from Chile at a cost of R30 000 a head. He said the 30 animals were now worth R1 million.

Griffith said the thieves had broken his fence and herded the alpacas out at the bottom of his property, which borders a Sappi plantation. “It’s easy to herd them among the trees and then bring them out in vehicles.”

He said he was not that concerned for their welfare as he felt the value of the animals meant they would be well cared for.

“I don’t think anyone will do anything unpleasant to them. I am sure they are safe.”

A reward of R5 000 is now being offered for information leading to the recovery of the alpacas, or the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Griffith has appointed a private investigator to try and find the herd. Anyone with information on the herd should call Terry Warwick at 073 480 8872 or e-mail investigations@ratelrs.com. All information will be treated in confidence.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said he was not aware of any other cases of alpaca theft in the province.

Alpaca fibre is used for making knitted and woven items. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and bears no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic.

An adult alpaca generally is between 81 and 99 cm in height at the shoulder blades, and weighs between 48 and 84 kg.

Alpacas warn the herd of intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations that sound like a high-pitched bray. The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick.

They make a variety of sounds. When in danger, they make a high-pitched, shrieking whine.

source: Wikipedia

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