Alpaca herds receive medicines, vitamins to stay healthy in severe weather

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Agricultural authorities in Arequipa region will dose 10,000 alpacas with antibiotics in a bid to prevent their deaths from severe cold, _Andina_ reports.

The action is part of an emergency programme to protect livestock from the unseasonably cold weather and has already seen 65,000 vitamin shots and 3,500 bales of hay distributed.

Alpacas have been domesticated for about 6,000 years and are herded mainly for fibre as well as meat.

Like llamas, alpacas are related to camels.

According to speciality fibre supplier, Alpha Tops, alpaca wool can sell for between US$ 10 and $24 per kilogram, depending on quality, with an adult male producing as much as 7 kilograms.

Herders in La Union, Caylloma, and Arequipa Castilla will benefit from the programme that starts next week.

Prevention campaigns in the highlands of Arequipa have already reduced the death rate in the alpaca livestock, currently under 2 per cent and considered severe when it reaches 5 per cent.

During September and October, 650,000 animals will receive vaccines.

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