A farm has had an influx of animal lovers from around the world to see their herd of alpacas as their popularity grows thanks to social media.
The South American animals are proving a hit with visitors at Auld Mill Alpacas farm in Mosstowie in Moray, as the owners can’t keep up with demand for treks and safaris to allow visitors to get up close to the 80-strong herd.
With around 40,000 registered alpacas in the UK and around 22 herds north of the border, the Moray farm is just one of many sites across the country witnessing a boom in popularity for the woolly wonders.
“We’ve had visitors from Australia and New Zealand recently, the States, Canada and Singapore in the last month or so,” explains Carole Christian from Auld Mill Alpacas.
“Lots of people like to have photographs of them and there’s lots of alpaca merchandise out there, so it’s really heightened people’s awareness.”
One visitor to the farm said: “We’ve learned so much about them, about the different colours and how the breeding works and their ages. They’re just a lovely animal, they’re just so gentle.
Many Alpaca owners keep the animals for their wool which is in demand due to its softness, and thanks to numerous social media accounts dedicated to the animals, alpaca-themed products ranging from toys to socks are flying off the shelves.
However, Duncan Pullar from British Alpaca Society warns people against taking on an alpaca as a pet without the proper knowledge of the animal.
“As a society we do get calls now and then from people who have seen alpacas that aren’t being kept properly,” David explains.
“One of the things we do is try and step in there and help the owners who maybe aren’t doing the best job to do the right job.
“Occasionally we will rehome them as well, just to make sure these animals are being looked after properly.”