Above: Some of the 100 starving llamas rescued by Wes Laraway in Schoharie County last week. Photo from the Northeast Llama Rescue blog.
A massive cross-country llama rescue operation coordinated by a Schoharie-county "llama whisperer" is making headlines, and has inspired some charitable impulses in a celebrity llama owned by the Fabulous Beekman Boys.
Last week, Wes Laraway, a Middleburgh history teacher who runs an animal rescue center at his Red Maple Farm, rescued 100 neglected llamas from a failing large animal sanctuary in Montana where over 1,000 animals were reportedly slowly starving to death. Laraway, who says that he thinks the rescue is one of the largest since Hurricane Katrina, funded much of the rescue himself, according to the Times Union:
Laraway agreed initially to take 50 llamas, but the cost of moving them cross-country was $9,000 for 50, or twice that number. Laraway took the 100 and paid the cost out of pocket. He hopes to recoup that and other expenses through donations, including an estimated $13,000 more to keep the llamas stocked with hay for the next six months, plus veterinary bills.
Yesterday, WRGB 6 devoted a long news segment to the story, which referred to Laraway's nickname:
But when it comes to helping sick animals recover, Laraway has a reputation for getting the job done. "Around here they call him the llama whisperer. He has a tendency to bring back the ones that nobody else would give the time to," says volunteer Gayle Natasi.
The rescue has also caught the attention of Sharon Springs reality-TV stars Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, aka The Fabulous Beekman Boys, who own a llama named Polka Spot who makes regular cameos on the Planet Green show. (She also has her own Facebook and Twitter accounts. A sample tweet: "Cllaire Danes at Gollden Gllobes: spit." )
Polka Spot is so invigorated by the rescue of her Montana relatives that she is adopting one of the rescued llamas herself, according to a blog post on the Beekman website:
The 100 llamas that arrived at the Northeast Llama Rescue are in dire need of your help. In order to survive long enough to be eligible for adoption, they will need intensive medical care and food supplies.
That’s why Polka Spot decided to do something. Today she volunteered to foster one of these llamas for the next year. His name is Alistair. Polka Spot will pay for his food, care, and medical expenses for the next year until he is healthy enough to be put up for adoption.
She likes to use her world-wide celebrity for a good cause.
Polka released a statement:
“Me llove me.
Me llove llamas.
Me hellp llamas.
You llove me.
You llove llamas.
You hellp llamas.”
It’s hard to argue with llama llogic.
Brent Ridge also took some time to tell CBS 6 about Polka Spot's support for the rescue operation:
To follow Laraway's blow-by-blow account of the rescue, check out his blog. To donate to the care and feeding of the llamas, to help the acitvites of Northeast Llama Rescue, or to adopt a llama, go to the group's website. To watch Laraway rescuing the llamas last week, see the video below: