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South Coast Alpaca Farm Welcomes Back Visitors After Year-Long Pandemic Closure

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An alpaca at Canzelle Farm in Carpinteria

It’s not just we humans that have been missing having visitors for the past year during the coronavirus pandemic.

A South Coast alpaca farm is welcoming back tours after a year-long closure – and the animals are delighted to see people again.

An alpaca is chewing on a carrot, at the Canzelle Farm in Carpinteria.

She’s being fed by a visitor, who is being given a tour by owner Carol-Anne Lonson.

The Farm has been closed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and is now welcoming back visitors.

"We took the time to improve everything, " she told KCLU. "We all missed it. The alpacas love it, they have missed everybody because they're socialized."

It’s not the first time Carol-Anne has had to pivot her business because of a global crisis.

She ran a breeding business with 300 alpacas before 2008, until the global market crash.

"I realised that people don't want to buy them - they want to SEE them! So I pivoted from a breeding business to agritourism and it's been lots of fun."

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Carol-Anne Lonson interacts with her alpacas

Now she has 30 alpacas, who interact with the visitors on her tour.

And when the Thomas wildfire in December 2017 threatened her animals and farm, she not only evacuated the animals – but found a positive in the situation. Giant avocados!

She says that some grew to 1lb in weight, because of the ash fertilizing the soil.

Brett Garcia found the farm tours on-line and embraced the opportunity to feed and photograph the alpacas up close.

"It's really fortunate timing-wise as everything has been shut down," he told KCLU.

"I spent some time in South America and became really fascinated with them. Their faces are comical," he said.

As well as the alpacas, there’s 2 llamas, 2 Anatolian shepherd dogs and Archie…the Filipino water buffalo.