Peppi and Marko Laine are sheep farmers from Salo, Finland. Over the past years the sightings of wolves has increased from only a few to almost a hundred. Last year two of their lambs were killed by wolves. Now they are testing if llamas would be suitable guardians for their sheep.
Using llamas to guarding livestock has been tested in various pilots, yet no detailed scientific analysis on their effectiveness and specific conditions are available. WWF Finland is co-operating with the Finnish Sheep Breeders Association in a small two-year pilot project to investigate the possibilities to enhance the use of guardian animals in Finnish sheep farms. In 2021, guardian llamas were tested in two farms. One of the farms is the Mikkola farm in Salo, southern Finland, owned by Peppi and Marko Laine. Wolves have recently settled in the area, and the farm is looking for new possibilities to protect their sheep. Based on the experiences from the first field season, the co-grazing of sheep and llamas works well but it is too early to conclude about the effect of llamas in guarding the sheep.
The guardian llamas are not the golden solution to all the livestock damage caused by wolves. But this project will hopefully show good results and be one of the solutions on a long run alongside with electric fences, guardian dogs and other measures that prevent livestock damage.