Llama walks at Sutton farm become social media sensation

Llama mama: Glynda Bluhm with veterinary students Michael McAllen, Aliesha Salvarag, Cat O'Leary and Simone Carter. Photo: Jamila Toderas
Llama mama: Glynda Bluhm with veterinary students Michael McAllen, Aliesha Salvarag, Cat O'Leary and Simone Carter. Photo: Jamila Toderas

When it comes to walking animals, many would've seen people out and about walking their dogs.

But just over the ACT border, people are now trying their hand at walking llamas. And it's popularity is rapidly growing.

The walks are organised by llama and alpaca breeder Glynda Bluhm, who runs the walks at her farm in Sutton.

Since the event began more than nine months ago, the llama walks have become a sensation on social media, being booked out in a matter of hours after being advertised on Facebook.

People who register for the llama walks are able to interact with the animal in a 90-minute session as well as help to feed them.

Ms Bluhm said the llama walks are a way to introduce more people to the species.

"They're getting a unique experience, there's only about 5000 llamas in all of Australia and New Zealand," she said. "People don't know that much about them, and once they interact with them, they fall in love with llamas."

While the walks took place every six weeks when they first began last year, its popularity on social media has meant the walks now happen almost every weekend.

The self-appointed "llama mama" began looking after the species in 1997, and now has more than 140 llamas as well as 60 alpacas on her property.

After several hundred people would visit her farm for open days twice-a-year, Ms Bluhm said she wanted to find another way to have people connect with the animals.

"It's incredibly busy at the farm, and it was a rare day when people didn't turn up to try and see the llamas," she said. "Im very pro-educational, and had open days, and I thought I could put on events where people could interact with and play with them and feed them, and that seems to make people happy."

Part of that education, Ms Bluhm said, is learning the difference between the llamas  and alpacas.

"People think that they're just similar words for the same thing, but llamas usually weigh upwards of 160 kilograms, while alpacas are usually around 80," she said.

The success of the llama walks has allowed Ms Bluhm to expand the weekly events to other species, including alpacas and donkeys.