‘Absolutely heartbreaking’: Sussex alpaca breeder reacts to Geronimo death sentence

A Sussex alpaca breeder has said the death of Geronimo will be ‘heartbreaking’ for the owner.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 5:09 pm

Claire Holloway, who runs alpaca breeding site Moralee Farm, has reacted after Geronimo the alpaca hit the headlines when he tested positive for tuberculosis twice.

The long necked animal is now facing execution to prevent the spread of the deadly disease – Geronimo’s positive test results hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles.

Geronimo was brought to England from New Zealand in August 2017 by owner Helen Macdonald who is now desperately fighting to keep him alive.

Claire Holloway, pictured with Braveheart

She has launched a lengthy legal battle but now Environments Minister George Eustace has backed Defra’s decision to kill the animal in the next 30 days despite the Prime Minister’s father Stanley Johnson calling for a stay of execution.

Claire, who has 45 adult alpacas and 11 baby ‘crias’ said the death of Geronimo will be heartbreaking to Helen.

The West Chiltington resident added: “She’s obviously feeling quite strongly that he’s a healthy animal.

“To lose an animal – it will be heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.

“My heart absolutely bleeds for her it would be absolutely dreadful.”

Claire has named some of her herd after 1950s film stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Grace Kelly.

Some of her herd have more up to date names including one called Braveheart.

And she said the animals react to their names.

Claire added: “They’re quite intelligent animals. They recognise their own names.”

And the beasts can even be trained up as guard animals.

Claire said as prey in the food chain they are alert to foxes and other threats to the herd.

She added: “Some of them are more naturally alert.

“Someone will be keep their eyes up at anyone time.

“If they see a fox someone will make an alarm call.”

What do you think about Geronimo’s death sentence. Submit a reader letter to [email protected]