School children in Niigata Pref. take care of alpacas

Children at a Japanese elementary school in Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture will be learning lessons on the value of life from a pair of furry visitors.

Two female alpacas were delivered to the Hirokami-higashi Elementary School from a ranch in Nagaoka City's Yamakoshi district. The three-year-old white alpaca is named Candy and the one-year-old brown one is called Kiki.

About 150 school children welcomed the pair with applause. They will take care of the alpacas through the end of November.

Rancher Aoki Masaru told the children the alpacas cannot stay alive unless they are fed and given exercise.

He said taking good care of the alpacas will make them happy and will also be a learning experience for the children.

The children listened intently to the ranch staff explain how to feed the alpacas and clean up after them.

A fourth-grader said, "They're adorable. I'll do my best not to upset them."

The school began the program six years ago.