Hinterland Farms Alpaca


Readers will quickly identify our cover subject as an alpaca from Pender’s own Hinterland Farms. Our cover photo of Babar, the photographic opportunist, is another fine photo by Rose da Silva. Rose summed up Hinterland Farms’ alpacas rather succinctly when she said, “Darn, those guys are adorable!” I confirmed that Rose’s “adorable” was referring to the alpacas and not Hinterland’s Hanahlie Beise and Caleb Beyers, the couple who actually own and operate Hinterland. While they are fine looking people, I’d stop a little short of “adorable.”


When Rose asked for an alpaca to pose for the cover shot, our cover alpaca, Babar, was in such a rush that he forgot to even comb his hair for the big event. Free range hair notwithstanding, Babar does look rather calm and self-satisfied, doesn’t he?


To quote the Hinterland website, “Though the original intention was to start with sheep, the farm serendipitously started with six alpacas from a retirement sale. Since then, the herd has expanded through rescue animals that are either in crisis or have been surrendered to the SPCA.” The alpaca herd now numbers 19.


Although a distant relative of the camel, alpacas are more closely related to, and mistaken for, llamas, their larger and less polite cousins. Alpacas, noticeably smaller and more timid than llamas, have an average height of 90 cm at the shoulders (35 inches) and weigh on average about 60 kg (130 lb). By comparison, llamas stand about 120 cm (47 inches at the shoulder) and weigh about 113 kg (250 pounds).


Alpacas are valued for their fine, soft hair that is prized for fleece production. Llamas, however, are prized for their strength and carrying ability, especially in mountainous terrain. Being larger and less timid, they are better able to deal with various predatory animals. The lucky Hinterland alpacas are delighted to have their own protective resident llama buddy, Diego, named after Mexican artist, Diego Rivera.


Not having seen a lot of alpaca operations on Pender, I could not resist asking Caleb the “why Pender” question. His answer was, “We have been visiting Pender for more than a decade, and we’ve always loved it here. We have great friends who live here, and we’re close to our families. Hanahlie learned to raise alpacas as part of her artistic practice, and I come from a farming family. Hanahlie’s work with the Alpacas turned into a yarn and knitwear design business, and as we got more serious about the Alpacas we knew that we needed to find a way to share a piece of land with them. We found this scrubby piece of land here, and are in the thick of turning it into a productive little farm. It’s a slow process, but we’re loving it.”


The business may be unique but the motivation to locate on Pender sounds familiar.


Caleb and Hanahlie are looking forward to a return to “normalcy” so they can continue to develop their unique Pender operation. We wish them the best, and would like to thank their alpacas for providing us with a smile each time we pass by.


Note

The Research Department would like to thank Britannica for the information comparing the size and attributes of alpacas and llamas.


Mike Wiley


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