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Socks, stuffed animals and more: West Michigan farm opening alpaca-themed store

NORTH MUSKEGON, Mich. - The owner of a West Michigan alpaca farm is opening up a store to sell items including socks made out of alpaca fleece and stuffed animals. Jean McMurray, who operates the 25-acre Scenic Sky Alpaca Farm in Muskegon County, started out with four alpacas and now has a herd of 200. On Saturday, The Muskegon Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/14OKhHo ) the store's grand opening is planned in conjunction with National Alpaca Farm Days.

Llamas guard sheep in Swiss pastures

Geneva, Aug 26 (EFE).- Llamas, a camelid native to the Andes of South America, are being used to guard sheep in the Swiss Alps, breaking the stranglehold that dogs have had for generations on the job of guarding flocks from wolves and other predators. The alert and curious nature of llamas, which are able to move easily across rough terrain, gives them an advantage in protecting flocks of sheep, farmers said. Twenty llamas are being used in a test project by the Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas, or Agridea, to guard some flocks.

Llama meat turns haute cuisine in Bolivia

In one of La Paz's most exclusive French restaurants, carpaccio, sprinkled with Parmesan and topped with baby Swiss lettuce is a popular menu item. But it may surprise the diner to learn the tender, thin slices of raw meat are not beef or fish -- but llama. Llama meat, a traditional part of Andean indigenous cuisine, has recently made the leap into the most prestigious kitchens in Bolivia, and its high protein, low-fat content could soon make it into a prominent dish on menus of Bolivia around the world.

New Zealand cracks down on Asian tourist rip-off

New Zealand's consumer watchdog has launched a crackdown on rogue traders ripping off tourists from Asia by selling them fake goods at a vastly inflated prices. One company imported alpaca rugs worth $1,600 each before re-labelling them as New Zealand products and selling them to unsuspecting package tourists for up to $8,000 apiece. Another firm admitted selling duvets containing "100 percent New Zealand merino lamb wool" for up to $1,000 when they knew the product was not merino wool and was worth only about $70.

The curious case of the Arctic camel

Camels... the ships of the Arctic? That's the theory put forward on Tuesday by Canadian palaeobiologists, who point to evidence that giant camels roamed the High Arctic millions of years ago, when that region was relatively balmy and forested. The proof comes from a fossilised and fragmented limb bone found alongside fossilised trees in Ellesmere Island in Nunavut province. Barren today, Ellesmere lies alongside the northwestern tip of Greenland at a latitude of around 80 degrees north.
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