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An Inquiry Into the Acceptability of Llamas

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by HTZ, 15 May 2024.

  1. HTZ

    HTZ Member

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    Just wanted to know everyone's opinions on this. Is it okay for zoos to put llamas into mixed species exhibits with rheas, capybaras, etc. or should they stick to guanacos or vicunas instead of llamas.
     
  2. filovirus

    filovirus Well-Known Member

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    like ethically? i guess i don't see an issue with it. i'm unaware of any debates pertaining to llamas specifically- beyond general squabbling about walk-through exhibits or petting zoo-type arrangements.

    thematically? if the debate here is the domesticated llama vs the undomesticated guanaco and vicuña, i personally don't really care much either way. while i can certainly see the potential for frustration in not having more guanacos and vicuñas in captivity/in a zoo context, the three animals are so similar to me personally (and taxonomically) that i feel like for the general zoogoer it's just... not worth the effort of managing flighty, sensitive, unpredictable, undomesticated prey animals vs their significantly more predictable, braver, tamer, more recognizable relatives. I'd imagine llamas are also a heck of a lot easier to obtain- just logistically they seem like a much more convenient option.

    behaviorally? i have no clue how those three animals would interact with each other and i agree w/ nile's suggestion to throw it there


    edit to add that my only real context for llamas is that my local zoo has (had? used to have? it's like a seasonal thing i think) a llama walk-through space that also had a gaggle of guinea pigs. i enjoyed them, though they weren't my favorite in the world, and the theming felt a bit haphazard as the Minnesota Zoo is generally lacking in South American animals and presentation- at least in a way that isn't "generic tropical jungle that is a conglomerate of animals from all over the world".
     
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  3. NMM

    NMM Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    I don't see an issue with displaying them that way either.

    I would like to see zoos that hold camelids do more to try to educate about the domestic and wild variants. I don't think that is very well understood by the general public.

    Given how many llamas and alpacas (at least in the UK anyway) are held by places that don't specialise in exotic species, I would like to see more zoos focus on vicuna and guanaco.
     
  4. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey In the Swamp Premium Member 5+ year member

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    I think both of these statements really ring true and capture my point of view as well.
     
  5. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Wild species is ideal but for countries that have zoos cornered due to biosecurity laws I can sympathize with llamas taking up space “belonging” to non domesticated species.
     
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  6. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    I'd prefer guanacos or vicuñas but guanacos seem uncommon in the USA and I don't think there are vicuñas here. Llamas are sort of like dromedaries or domestic Bactrian camels in that regard. A suitable stand it. This could extend to non-camelid species like domestic yak, water buffalo or reindeer (if that's a thing).

    Domestics like cattle seem a bit more odd to mix with wild species although for some reason Ankole in a savanna display seems different than Angus cattle in a prairie exhibit. Maybe because Ankole are a curiosity but Angus are everywhere in North America.
     
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  7. oflory

    oflory Well-Known Member 10+ year member Premium Member

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    Is there anywhere that mixes dromedaries with Australian fauna like kangaroos and emus?
     
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  8. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    I always thought that would be a neat mix. Especially since Australian dromedaries are the closest to being wild.
     
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  9. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Not in the same enclosure but Minnesota had Dromedary in their Australian complex for almost the entirety of that complex's existence.
     
  10. filovirus

    filovirus Well-Known Member

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    Reindeer are a bit complicated in the domestic/wild "debate" (if you can even call it that). In North America, caribou are wild Rangifer tarandus while reindeer refers to domesticated R. tarandus. In Eurasia they're all called reindeer. All caribou are wild, while reindeer can be wild, semi-domesticated, or domesticated. A domesticated reindeer and a wild caribou are the same scientific animal but can be very very different in not just behavior, but appearance; domestic reindeer are smaller and not quite as beefy, compared to caribou who are taller and more muscular.

    I see you're from North Dakota- basically for you (and I, and any other North American) reindeer already refers to the domesticated version of R. tarandus, while caribou refers to their undomesticated counterparts. I

    This is of course an even more complicated question: At what point do we draw the line when counting things as "stand-ins"? Is a reindeer a stand-in for a caribou if they're technically the exact same species? I'm struggling right now to think of any other animals where this conundrum exists... wild horses, maybe?

    these are questions i do not have answers to. but as a minnesotan i felt obligated to bring up the pedantic details of caribou and reindeer.
     
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  11. GiratinaIsGod

    GiratinaIsGod Well-Known Member

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    Overloon mixes dromedarys with australian fauna. Seperated by the kanagroos and people by a moat, what the waterfowl can reach them
     
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  12. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    Are llamas alpacas the domestic counterpart to guanacos? Certainly alpacas look a bit different but llamas are pretty similar.
     
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  13. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey In the Swamp Premium Member 5+ year member

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    Llama are believed to be domesticated guanaco and alpaca are believe to be domesticated vicuna.
     
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  14. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey In the Swamp Premium Member 5+ year member

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    I would say "no", it is not a stand-in since they are the same species. These camelids are not the same species, but domesticated versions of wild counterparts. But I am not a purist when it comes to subspecies and displays in collections, someone that is a purist would almost certainly disagree.
     
    Last edited: 16 May 2024
  15. evilmonkey239

    evilmonkey239 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Detroit Zoo…did…back in the 1970s, per a documentary from that time I watched.
     
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  16. Markhor625

    Markhor625 New Member

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    I have seen this many times. Although it would be more correct to use guanacoes as the wild type.
     
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  17. dillotest0

    dillotest0 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I will say ...
    I have never seen llama or alpaca in a zoo [except Zoo Berlin? I guess?] in the context of other South American fauna; nor have I really seen either in any other context than a children's farm section.
    Interestingly with water buffalo and yaks however I have only ever seen them as standalone exhibits, as per reindeer.
    Though what surprised me a bit is that reindeer aren't all too common zoo animals in USA from what I understand. Most USA zoos merely get reindeer in as seasonal displays.... and in my experience amongst major zoos not overly common either somehow but they are there and especially smaller places tend to have them.
    On that note do any places keep reindeer as part of children's farm anyways? I would think breeding would be difficult as bull reindeer in rut wouldn't be sort of animal you'd want kids close to. So many places end up keeping only gelded males and/or females. Though what I don't like much about gelded males is that they don't tend to shed velvet fully....can look weird
     
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  18. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    I imagine reindeer aren't so common in the US because in most places with zoos the summers are generally too hot for them. Unless they have a higher tolerance for heat than I'm aware of. I've seen yaks as standalone exhibits but not water buffalo (never seen them anywhere). Bactrian camels I've only seen as standalone exhibits and I have seen llamas that way a time or two. Maybe these domestics are hard to place.
     
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  19. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    Have you seen domestic horses as a stand in for something? On the subject of domestics, the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City appears to exhibit donkeys in its new Utah Wild exhibit. This is along the same lines as dromedaries in an Australian exhibit.
     
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  20. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member 15+ year member Premium Member

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    Seeing Llamas mixed with a variety of domestic animals is fairly common, and Llama/Alpaca combinations are equally common, but for the most part Llamas are not usually placed with Rheas and Capybaras, as per the original question from @HTZ

    However, here are some quirky examples I've photographed over the years:

    Llamas and Rheas together at Tierpark Strohen (Germany) in 2019:

    [​IMG]

    Llamas and Rheas together at Frank Buck Zoo (USA) in 2015:

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    Llamas and Dall Sheep together (and you can see one of each in this photo) at Chahinkapa Zoo (USA) in 2014:

    [​IMG]

    Llamas and Capybaras together at Reid Park Zoo (USA) in 2011:

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    Llamas, Baird's Tapirs and Capybaras together at Hattiesburg Zoo (USA) in 2012:

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    Llamas, Pronghorn and Dromedaries together at San Diego Zoo (USA) in 2011:

    [​IMG]

    Llamas, Rheas, Baird's Tapirs, Capybaras, Crested Screamers and Coscoroba Swans all together at Audubon Zoo (USA) in 2010:

    [​IMG]

    Llamas, American Bison, Roosevelt Elk and Aoudad all together at Wildlife Safari (USA) in 2010:

    [​IMG]
     
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