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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Hunt for owner of 'nervous' llama
Llama
Domestic llamas are native to South America
A llama found wandering the countryside on Tuesday is being cared for by animal welfare officers, who are looking for his owners.

The adult male camelid was said to be anxious but in good health when it was found on a farmer's field in Hough, Cheshire.

He was cared for overnight by farmers Malcolm and Julie Cox before being handed over to the RSPCA.

Mrs Cox said: "I was gob smacked when I saw him. He had just wandered on to one of our fields.

"He was a little agitated and nervous but other than that seemed fine."

'Jumped out'

RSPCA inspector Roy Jones said the animal might have simply escaped but more "sinister possibilities" had not been ruled out.

He said: "This is obviously a very unusual animal to be brought to our attention but initial inquiries have failed to locate his owner.

"The British Llama and Alpaca Association has checked with all of its members in Cheshire but none has lost a llama.

"There are several possibilities behind what has happened.

"There is a chance that somebody was transporting the llama and he jumped out, or he could have strayed.

Private collections

"However, there are more sinister possibilities that the animal may have been dumped or stolen.

"We are keeping an open mind."

Domestic llamas are native to South America and descended from wild guanacos, which were domesticated more than 6,000 years ago.

There are said to be hundreds of llamas in private collections in the UK.

The animal was today being looked after by a member of the British Llama and Alpaca Association, who will keep it if it is not claimed.


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