Getting out into the countryside, walking for hours and exploring what Devon has to offer; those are the usual pass times for many people in the county and most of them do it with a dog. But could you imagine walking something that is over 6ft tall, weighs almost 200 kilos and sometimes can be a little grumpy?
Students at Bicton College are working to train Terry the Lama to walk on a lead and regularly take him for tours of the campus. The work enables staff and students to keep an eye on Terry’s weight and to learn new skills; working with a large animal.
Animal Care Curator at Bicton College, Jess Hill, said: “Terry is such an interesting and fun character, but he is very focussed on what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do. Taking him for walks is a great way to give him some exercise and is great experience for the students; you never know what animals they could come into contact with in their future careers.
“It also enables us to keep an eye on Terry’s health as we walk him to the equine yard for weighing, which means he gets the right amount of food and medicine if he becomes ill.”
Terry shares his walks with the two resident Alpacas at Bicton College as Jess continues: “They are pack animals and Terry follows the two Alpacas quite happily, we’ve had them for a while and they are setting a good example for Terry.”
The Animal Management Centre at Bicton College is one of the best equipped zoological training facilities in the South West and Terry is an inspirational resource for the students to learn from. Taking him for walks enables them to grow in confidence when it comes to handling larger animals.
Student Charlotte Heritage from Exeter said: “They do pull a lot and they are really strong when they want to be. They walk us most of the time, but its good fun.”
Principal of Bicton College, Dr Phil Le Grice, added: “We want students to leave Bicton College with all the skills they will need to slot into their ideal job and although it sounds a little bizarre, this kind of work is really important. Being confident around all animals, regardless of their size and learning techniques to handle them will be vitally important for these young people in their future careers and working with Terry certainly presents some challenges.”
If you are interested in studying at Bicton College, you can attend their next course advice day on the 26th August at 10am to 4pm or call 01395 562400 to speak to a course tutor.