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Abstract

Alpacas are a species that present physiological, anatomical, morphological and behavioural distinctive characteristics compared to other species used in animal production. Empirical observation of a herd, grazing under time management controlled conditions, allowed to approximate some initial observations about the effect of alpacas in the management of ecosystems. Larger green matter availability in the paddocks grazed by alpacas, evident natural weed control, better plants distribution and increasing stocking capacity were the relevant observed issues. It is considered that the special behavioural characteristics of alpacas in terms of excretion habits, low hoof pressure, food conversion efficiency and grazing habits should be factors to be rigourously studied to explore the value of alpacas as an environmentally friendly species.

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