Twenty-three weanling alpacas have been stolen from a property in Hindmarsh Valley, and local police are calling for public help to get them home.
Sometime last week, owners of Softfoot Alpacas noticed five male alpacas and 18 females aged about three months old were taken from the Kenny Road property.
Police believe someone rounded them up into a paddock yard on the property and then lifted them into a trailer before they were taken away.
The group of alpacas are a mix of colours.
Softfoot Alpacas co-owner Gary Retallick said he felt sad that someone could come onto their 600-hectare property, open a gate and take their animals.
“I’m sad. You think you’re doing a nice honourable rural industry and everybody supports you… then someone decided they needed our animals more than us,” he said.
He said in the 20 years he and his wife Sandy had been running the farm, they had not heard of anyone having their alpacas stolen.
“We’ve had to think about security – we’ve never had to before,” he said.
Currently there is a strong market for alpacas in China, Mr Retallick said, and he was cautious of the thief potentially using that for their benefit.
But he said after working with police, they would be able to DNA-test any alpacas before they are shipped overseas to identify them as belonging to Softfoot.
“Police are tracking a few leads,” he said.
He said he would be able to pick out his animals in a crowd, due to the colour and shearing pattern.
“Because they’re specifically young and they are all a nice colour, they stand out in a herd,” he said.
“We shear them ourselves. We know the shearing pattern – regardless of if they take the ear tags out, we’ll know them.”
Police urge anyone who saw anything unusual in the area or has any information about the theft to contact Crime Stoppers immediately by calling 1800 333 000 or reporting online at www.crimestopperssa.com.au
Anyone reporting can remain anonymous.