Alpacas pay a flying visit to airport
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
They can trace their ancestry back to deepest, darkest Peru. So when British Airways wanted to promote a new flight from Britain to the South American country's capital, Lima, these alpacas seemed the ideal candidates to help.
The 11-month-old creatures, Huxley, Pasty and Marquess, have just returned to their paddock, on Woodbine Farm in Weybread, near Diss, after spending a day outside Gatwick Airport's North Terminal as part of a publicity stunt to launch the new route.
Pauline Sandell, who owns the farm with her partner, David Cooper, said: 'People were amazed. Children wanted to stroke them and people kept asking: 'why are they here?'.
'The alpacas really enjoyed the attention and were very relaxed. Alpacas take things in their stride. It was a very interesting experience and we always like talking about alpacas.'
The couple decided to breed the animals in 2007 after Mr Cooper saw a television programme about them. They purchased six breeding alpacas and now have 79 on their farm. They offer a stud service, sell the wool to spinners and have gloves and scarves made to sell at country shows.
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Mrs Sandell, 67, said: 'It is hard work but it keeps us healthy. They are remarkable animals. They have their own character and they give us so much joy. We have named them all and we're going through the alphabet, we are on I now.'
Alpacas are closely related to the llama and are believed to have been domesticated more than 6,000 years ago.
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It is primarily used as a fleece producing animal.
Mr Cooper, 69, added: 'They are timid but they are inquisitive. They want to know what is going on all the time.'