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Shock alpaca slaughter 'like a war zone': farmer

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Shock alpaca slaughter 'like a war zone': farmer
07:35 CEST+02:00
Swedish alpaca farmers suspect that a wolf attacked and killed six of its animals on Wednesday night at their central Sweden farm, which supplies alpaca wool to the Swedish fashion industry.

"My fiancée ran into the house screaming 'Something's happened'," farmer Sven Persson told The Local.

"She'd only seen the one dead alpaca though. I rushed out and found the second, third, fourth... it was like a war zone."

In total, six alpacas were killed in the spree on the farm in Smedstad, north of Karlstad, an attack Persson believes was carried out by up to three wolves.

Five of the slain animals were female, some of which were pregnant, and their young were also killed. One of them escaped with just injuries, and is currently in the care of veterinarians.

Breeding alpacas is a lucrative business, and the attack has left Persson in dire straits financially.

"My whole life has been destroyed, we're bankrupt now. Each animal is worth between 50,000 and 80,000 kronor ($7,600 to $12,100) as they are, not to mention that some were pregnant," he said.

Alpacas can live up to 15 years, according to Persson, meaning that the farmer stands to lose up to one million kronor per animal. He remains unsure if he will be able to get any compensation from the Swedish state, which often pays money to Swedes whose animals are killed by protected Swedish predators.

While some farmers in southern Sweden are experimenting with llamas to prevent wolf attacks on their sheep, Persson explained that alpacas don't challenge predators in the same way. Instead, the animals, which are 20 percent smaller than their South American cousins, are more likely to warn their owner when a predator shows up.

"But our bedroom is on the far side of the house, we didn't hear anything," Persson lamented.

The farmer, however, refuses to blame the wolves for the attack.

"I'm no wolf hater," he told The Local.

"It's the fault of humans, we have destroyed their native habitat with our buildings and our roads, and they have nowhere to go."

Oliver Gee

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