Monday, Sep 24, 2012
GAFFNEY, SC – On September 14, 110 fourth graders from Buffalo Elementary School in Union, SC, visited Cowpens National Battlefield and received more than just a history lesson. While it is normal for visitors to encounter wild turkeys, deer, and rabbits when walking the battlefield, it is unprecedented for them to come across a llama. These youngsters, as well as dozens of other visitors over the course of the weekend, spotted this exotic ungulate munching on grass alongside the Tour Road.
“George” the Llama sought refuge and fodder in the park when an older, dominant male llama chased him from his pen outside the park’s boundary. National Park Service officials worked with the park neighbor, who was unable to keep both the young llama and the older male, to find him a new home. After a weekend of unsuccessful attempts to coax and wrangle George from the park, rangers enlisted the services of Kim and Lynette Melton from Southeast Llama Rescue who arrived on September 17 with their secret weapon, “Coco-Chanel”, a female llama. The team was able to entice George into an enclosure using bread and “Coco” and then transported him to his new foster home in North Carolina. “Visitors and staff learned more than we ever though we would want to know about llama behavior. It was, however, a unique opportunity to make relevant the impacts that unwanted domestic animals such as hogs and llamas can have on park lands and visitors,” Superintendent John Slaughter pointed out.
The public was able to stay updated on the progress of the rescue efforts through postings at the park Visitor Center and through social media outlets. One visitor to the park’s Facebook page commented that maybe the park should change the name to “Llamapens.” Southeast Llama Rescue (SELR) is a non-profit organization founded in North Carolina that helps find homes for abused, neglected, and unwanted llamas as well as providing basic care information and mentors to new llama owners. For more information about SELR, visit their website at http://www.southeastllamarescue.org