A close relation of Llamas, the Alpaca is famed for its thick dense wool. Indeed, recent times have seen Alpacas being farmed for their wool as it brings a better price at market than the more common sheep wool.
Male alpacas are called ‘Machos’ whilst females are known as ‘Hembras’. Used as a symbol of wealth by the rich aristocracy of the Inca civilisation, the first domesticated alpaca remains existed some 1000 years before the Great Pyramids of Giza were built.
The donkey has been domesticated for over 5000 years and has played an integral part as a working animal. Mainly used in underdeveloped countries, the donkey is often used for carrying heavy loads across unforgiving terrain.
Male Donkeys are known as Jacks whilst females are known as a Jenny. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass and is actually now an endangered species whilst the domesticated donkey continues to grow in numbers, with some 40 million now in captivity. The iconic donkey is often seen on summer beaches where the soft sand is beneficial to their hooves as this is the most familiar to their ancestral desert habitat.
Horses have been an integral and important part of man’s history since the day they were domesticated some 6,000 years ago. From carrying heavy goods to being used in battle, the horse has shaped man’s development and progression in a way that no other animal ever could.
A sign of power and wealth in bygone eras the horse has even helped shape our landscapes by pulling ploughs for the worlds farmers. With some 6.9 million horses kept across the EU the horses popularity still remains as high as ever. The horse has and still does remain as a source of food in some parts of the world.
The Pygmy goat is a breed of miniature domestic goat and tend to be kept as pets primarily, though also work well as milk producers and working animals.
The pygmy goat is quite hardy, an asset in a wide variety of settings and can adapt to virtually all climates. There are separate pedigree lineages in the United Kingdom and (where they are sometimes called the African Pygmy) and also the United States. The breed was developed from the West African dwarf goat, a landrace of Central and West Africa, found most commonly in the Cameroon Valley. They were taken to Europe primarily by the British during the colonial era and later imported into the United States from European zoos in the 1950s for use in zoos as well as research animals. Their primary diet consists of greens and grains.
IUCN Red List Category– Least Concern
Pigs are farmed worldwide for their meat and were first domesticated around 13,000BC from wild boar. A male pig is called a boar whilst a female pig is known as a sow (if she has had piglets) or a gilt (if she hasn’t had piglets).
Pigs are very intelligent and learn quickly and have been ranked #4 in animal intelligence behind chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants. Pigs, true to their reputation, will eat almost anything that is put in front of them from meat to grain and everything else in between. Just like Humans, Pigs can get sunburn and through the summer domestic pigs often bath and roll around in wet soil to protect themselves from the sun, using the dirt as a natural ‘sun screen’, this fascinating behaviour is known as wallowing.
IUCN Red List Category– Least Concern
Highland cattle (also known as the hairy cow) are an old Scottish breed of cow, bred primarily for their beef. Highland cattle are often bred for cattle shows, and some individuals can win many prizes due to their incredible condition, namely their body stature and muscle coverage.
Their popularity can be seen by the fact the breed can now be found throughout Europe, North America and Australia, where they are now commonly farmed for their highly prized meat. Highland cattle have adapted to living in such harsh terrains as they have a large, strong build and a thick double layer of long hair. Like all cattle they are herbivorous mammals and eat a wide range plant matter. Whilst grass forms the bulk of their diet highland cattle are also known to eat leaves from low growing trees and shrubs and are also rather partial to the odd flower!
IUCN Red List Category– Yet to be Confirmed