Alpacas in Australia
Commercial importation of alpacas into Australia commenced approximately thirty years ago and now there are over 125,000 registered alpacas in Australia, which is the largest population outside of South America. There are approximately 7,500 alpacas in New Zealand, 5,000 in North America and less than one thousand in Europe, making the Australian production of alpaca fleece a commercially viable business in the quantity and quality of fleece production.
Australia is today recognized as being a significant producer of world-class quality fleece. In fact, Australia exports some of its best quality fine micron alpaca fleece to Peru.
In Australia, alpacas are bred by approximately 2,500 breeders. Each animal will yield approximately three to four kilograms of fleece each year when shorn. Alpacas are bred throughout Australia, except in the far north and generally have a life span of fifteen to twenty years. An adult alpaca will be approximately one metre high at the shoulder with a long a graceful neck and thick luxurious fleece all over its body.