A growing trend
The first introduction of alpaca to Italy was probably in zoos. However, in the late 1900, the initial serious efforts of importing and breeding alpacas as well as the first attempts of putting up a market for these animals were initiated. After more than a decade, two Italian associations, independent of each other, were organized to deal exclusively with alpacas.
The first was the Italian Association of Alpaca Owners and Breeders specifically designed for Alpacas in Italy and breeders. As a wool cooperative, they look after the transformation and manage the resale of alpaca fiber. The second association was the Italpaca (www.italpaca.com). At present, it membership is composed of 31 breeders/keepers and four associates (for vets, researchers, etc). From the onset, Italpaca’s first task was to complete setting up of a national registry. The registry will be owned by Italpaca and administered by the Dept. of Veterinary Science at the University of Camerino.
Italpaca had to deal with these problems:
- Its limited market must be expanded using various means, to include more media exposures as: TV programs, appearances at agricultural and craft shows, magazine articles, etc.
- A vigorous show circuit for Alpaca Italy must be established with Italian breeders participating/competing both in local shows and in other European countries.
- Improve the services offered to members regarding maximizing the value of wool produced by Alpacas in Italy.
- Continue organizing of courses to improve the general standard of husbandry, shearing, training of animals, wool handling, etc.
- Establishment of better contact network to improve alpaca-orientated veterinary services.
More information about alpacas
Although alpacas appear in all sorts of colors, only two types of breeds exist. The hair makes the difference: the hair of Huacaya alpacas are fluffy & fuzzy fleece giving them a teddy bears look; while the hair of the Suri type are long locks that grow straight all the way down. Like sheep, alpacas, are shorn for their hair that are like wools and made into sweaters and hats and scarves and blankets. Alpaca hair is hypoallergenic, which means people won’t get allergies. Even better, alpaca wool is flame-resistant, water-resistant and easy to clean. Alpacas have the same temperament as camels, they spit at the person when annoyed. But most of the time, they are sweet and docile. They make humming sounds to communicate with other alpacas in their herd.
They all adore alpacas
There are many reasons for the popularity of the animals. Alpacas are an all in one animal; they are pets, grass cutters, companion and guard animals, and sources of quality fibers and make profitable breeders. They can be a side-line or a highly rewarding full-time business Today alpacas are raised by breeders, producers of fibers, farmers seeking diversification in agriculture, smallholders searching for an affordable lifestyle & business, landowners in the country wanting to see beautiful creatures gracing their pastures and people who just adore alpacas.