The Wainui alpaca believes it can live a long life thanks to a healthy diet of grass and pellets and wearing a coat every day.
At 25, he may not look old to most people, but Wainui is very likely the oldest alpaca in captivity.
He is one of 11 owned by Wainuiomata’s Vicky Cordier and her husband Alex.
“He’s the last of our four originals,” Cordier said.
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Born on January 2, 1998, he came to New Zealand from Australia as a clear (baby alpaca) with his mother. He first settled on a farm on the Banks Peninsula (where he got his name) before moving to Wellington in 2002.
Many of the couple’s other alpacas are now about 20 years old, and Cordier added, “15 to 18 is a great age, 20 is a good age, but 25 is an exception.”
They were both surprised at how old he was after throwing a big party for his 23rd birthday.
Cordier attributed this to his small stature at around 160 cm and how much he was cared for by a former veterinary nurse.
“He wears the coat almost 365 days a year for years.”
Although a little blind, Wainui still “eats well.” He never found love of his own, nor his offspring, but gets along well with his brother and another handicapped female alpaca, a fellow paddock.
“They are absolutely herd animals, so I always have several animals of a similar age.”
Cordier said he plans to invite a few friends to a party in the paddock to celebrate his 25th birthday on Tuesday.
What about his potential world record title? Wainui may become the oldest living alpaca in captivity.
Cordier said this is still pending final verification by Guinness World Records officials.
The current owner is Mananita, an alpaca owned by Kate and Mike Blackburn in Colorado, USA. She was born on July 29, 1997, 24 years old and she was awarded the title at 320 days.
If he were alive, he would be 25 years, 5 months and 3 days old.