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Pikes Peak’s South American Suprise

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llama_peru_machu_picchuGlobalization truly has made our modern world an odd place. Not only can you find great Japanese sushi in Denver, now you can find at least one South American llama wandering above the treeline on Pikes Peak, near the tracks of the cog railway, which takes tourists to the gift shop that sells famous doughnuts at the top of the fourteener. About three weeks ago, U.S. Forest Service ranger Brent Botts began receiving reports about the mysterious llama, which appears to be a domesticated run-away. Maybe it escaped hikers using it as a pack animal, he tells the Colorado Springs Gazette. Or perhaps it hopped out of a trailer as someone passed through the region. Whatever the story, the llama seems naturally drawn to the mountain, appears to be eating well, and is trying hard to fit in with the locals. It recently sidled up to the peak’s herd of bighorn sheep, although the llama’s advances have gone unrequited. And without a herd, the llama is easier prey for mountain lions or coyotes, particularly as colder weather sets in. Efforts to lasso the llama and return it to a herd of its own kind have so far failed, although people will continue to try. As L’illette Vasquez, state coordinator for Southwest Llama Rescue, says, “It’s a baby raised on somebody’s farm or backyard.” Llamas seem to be everywhere these days, even in Dublin, Ireland, where a few ran away from a circus and caused a five-mile-long traffic jam, writes The Associated Press.

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