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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK
Llamas protect injured farmer
A llama
Llamas are native to South America
A farmer has told how his herd of llamas stood like a guard of honour around him after he had broken his hip while feeding them.

Graham Bailey, 72, lay in a field at his farm in Kettering, Northamptonshire, for two hours on Wednesday before a dog walker heard him shouting for help.

When an ambulance crew arrived they could not reach Mr Bailey because the llamas formed a protective circle round him.

It was only when an air ambulance arrived that the llamas became scared and fled.

A spokesman for the Diana Princess of Wales Air Ambulance Service said they were called to the scene after paramedics were unable to make their way through the llamas.

He said: "The ringleader Milo stirred the others up.

"When the ambulance crews arrived they couldn't get to him because the llamas were protecting him.

They take their job very seriously, so I wasn't surprised when they came to protect me
Graham Bailey
"The helicopter was called and it scared the animals away."

Mr Bailey said he thought he had probably injured his hip falling into a rabbit hole, and had crawled across his field for two hours before rescuers arrived.

He said: "The llamas were understandably alarmed by all this and were very protective of me.

"They came and made a circle around me, led by Milo who is their leader, and were very excited and dancing around.

"I actually use the llamas to protect the sheep from foxes and dogs, particularly during lambing season, because they make such good guards.

"They take their job very seriously, so I wasn't surprised when they came to protect me."

Mr Bailey was taken to Kettering General Hospital.

The air ambulance service was set up on 1 October to cover Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

The rescue was its 100th mission.

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