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Methods to ameliorate heat stress in non-native alpaca, Vicugna pacos

Peng, Shawn, Fu, Eric, Lee, Sandy, Tsai, Stefan
Small ruminant research 2019 v.175 pp. 90-95
Vicugna pacos, alpacas, animal welfare, cooling, death, fever, heat stress, humid zones, mists, mortality, spraying, sprinklers, summer, surveys, zoos, Taiwan
Despite their ability to adapt to a variety of environments, alpacas suffer from heat stress symptoms when raised in warm and humid regions of the world. Hyperthermia in alpacas not only raises animal welfare concerns, but also decreases productivity. To better understand the relationship between heat stress and alpaca mortality, Taiwanese alpaca facilities were surveyed. Additionally, to address the dearth of experimental research on heat stress reducing amenities in alpacas, an experiment was designed to test the effectiveness of different cooling amenities (water pool, frequent mist spraying, and fans) through temperature, behavioral, location and postural observations of alpacas at the Taipei Zoo during manipulations. Experimental result supports the use of mist sprinklers, water pools, and fans as alpaca cooling amenities, with water pools as being the most effective. Survey result shows a significant portion of alpaca deaths in Taiwan occurred during the summer and that heat stress was a leading cause of death. Furthermore, imported alpacas had a higher mortality rate than those born in Taiwan.