Alpacas adopted after foxes kill pet ducks at Belgian Embassy in Canberra

Damien Larkins 13 October 2021 34
Michel Goffin with an alpaca

Meet Ambassador Michel Goffin and alpaca Boris (or is it Pablo?). Photo: Embassy of Belgium in Canberra.

A pair of alpacas has been brought into the Belgian Embassy in Canberra after foxes killed the ambassador’s beloved pet ducks.

Belgian Ambassador to Australia Michel Goffin has kept ducks since he was gifted a pair while stationed at the consulate in Laos in 2012.

He kept his duck flock going at his next assignment in the Philippines and when he moved to Australia’s capital in late June 2021.

“When I arrived in Canberra in the residence here, it was big land, three hectares of garden and forest, I thought, well I’m continuing with my duck farm hobby,” he says.

“There are a lot of foxes here in Canberra – my first batch of ducks were killed after three days.”

READ ALSO: Ravens rule in Canberra, OK?

Losing his ducks to foxes hasn’t deterred the ambassador and he’s planning on getting more.

But this time, he wants to make sure they’re safe.

“I investigated a bit on the internet and we can do a lot of things to protect poultry … apparently the best idea is to have alpacas,” he says.

The alpacas Pablo and Boris (named for his hair, similar to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s) are from Sensuri Alpacas in Braidwood, just outside the ACT.

Sensuri owner Catherine Lukin says a retired diplomat owned the pair.

“We thought that was a nice connection,” she says.

“They will coordinate their efforts to get rid of foxes.

“They will try and corner them in a fence if they can and they stamp them with their toenail and 60 kilograms of weight behind them.”

Alpacas at the Belgian Embassy among trees

The wool of the alpacas will be used to make clothing. Photo: Embassy of Belgium in Canberra.

2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the Belgian embassy’s construction in Canberra.

The alpacas and ducks are a part of a wider sustainability and tourism project.

“The Belgian Embassy in Canberra is already one of the best spots for tourism; we see buses coming around a lot,” Mr Goffin says.

“It’s really a beautiful residence.”

Pablo and Boris are proving popular among embassy staff too.

“They love them,” Mr Goffin says.

“They come on a regular basis to say hello… the chancellery office is in the same compound so you can see them very closely.”

READ ALSO: Canberra’s beloved alpaca therapy program ends as Nils Lantzke and his flock retire

There are plans to knit clothes from the alpaca wool.

The ambassador has also rescued the beehives on the grounds that were going to be removed.

“We are going to train our staff to take care of the bees, so we’ll also have honey production.”

Profits from the ‘.be hives’ honey will be 100 per cent donated to charity.

Alpacas Pablo and Boris at the Belgian Embassy in Canberra

Pablo and Boris are taking well to the vast grounds of the embassy. Photo: Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Canberra.

It’s not just alpacas, ducks and bees at the Belgian menagerie.

The ambassador has been encouraging wild sulphur-crested cockatoos to become regular visitors.

“They are absolutely magic,” he says.

“I’m buying 50 kilos a month of sunflower seeds. I have a big bird feeder and they are really enjoying the Belgian Embassy.”

Mr Goffin admits he’s a bit of a farming ambassador.

“Australia is a great country for animals and biodiversity, and we have a great property here, so I might as well use it in the right way,” he says.

The ongoing adventures of Pablo and Boris will be posted on the Belgian Embassy Facebook page.

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34 Responses to Alpacas adopted after foxes kill pet ducks at Belgian Embassy in Canberra
Brett Boyes Brett Boyes 3:52 pm 20 Oct 21

Russian spies if I ever saw one.

Simon Davis Simon Davis 9:46 pm 19 Oct 21

Thomas Van Moer better call in for a pat mate

Sophie Patterson Sophie Patterson 9:51 pm 18 Oct 21

James, I love the namea

Fabio Fabbo Fabio Fabbo 11:47 pm 17 Oct 21

Erich Leten

Jane Leten

Have you guys thought about these guys as pets

Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang 9:26 pm 17 Oct 21

worth to visit your embassy Antoine Vansteenkiste

    Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang 9:41 pm 17 Oct 21

    Antoine Vansteenkiste the touch of Belgian diplomacy abroad 😂

    Antoine Vansteenkiste Antoine Vansteenkiste 9:42 pm 17 Oct 21

    Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang "Come pet our alpacas and also... want to try some waffles and visit us?"

    Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang 9:44 pm 17 Oct 21

    Antoine Vansteenkiste where are chocolates? should I go to Switzerland instead LOL

Simone Moss Simone Moss 8:15 pm 17 Oct 21

Sarah Moss,maybe you need some alpacas 🦙

Amanda Robyn Amanda Robyn 7:06 pm 17 Oct 21

Suzanne Feeney. See. Alpacas is what you need. 😉

Rosie Welsh Rosie Welsh 6:30 pm 17 Oct 21

Tom Gilbert i’ve found a pet for us

    Tom Gilbert Tom Gilbert 6:56 pm 17 Oct 21

    Rosie Welsh Lucy Coote weigh in

    Lucy Coote Lucy Coote 7:07 pm 17 Oct 21

    Tom Gilbert uhhhhh I mean at least we wouldn’t have to mow the grass…

Dave Morris Dave Morris 5:53 pm 17 Oct 21

Angelo Flores he even looks like you😂

Richard Dorothyanne Gurevitch Richard Dorothyanne Gurevitch 5:38 pm 17 Oct 21

Good move.

Jackie White Jackie White 4:59 pm 17 Oct 21

Poor ducks...

There was a lovely little wallaby who resided at the Swedish embassy (around the corner from the Belgians) for several years, but he was killed either by dogs or foxes 🙁

Wendy Boyce Wendy Boyce 2:55 pm 17 Oct 21

So awesome 👏

Margarita Elisabeth Margarita Elisabeth 2:05 pm 17 Oct 21

Alpacas are soo cute!

Jonny Williams Jonny Williams 1:55 pm 17 Oct 21

fox will kill ducks and chickens if not locked up at night

Geoffrey John Randal Geoffrey John Randal 1:01 pm 17 Oct 21

Perhaps HE might think about taking some foxes back to Europe. Maybe all of them?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:50 am 17 Oct 21

Belgium is home to many wild animals, including foxes, badgers, weasels, beavers, red deer, wild boar, lynxes, and wild cats.

So, Mr Goffin will have the same problems there. Also, not a good idea to feed cockatoos exclusively a diet of sunflower seeds.

Costanza Maffi Costanza Maffi 11:46 am 17 Oct 21

The Belgian ambassador is about to learn some hard truths about attracting sulphur-crested cockies to his residence... 🤦🏻‍♀️😂😂

Other than that, good on him!

    Sharon Morris Sharon Morris 5:56 pm 17 Oct 21

    I was thinking the same 😂🤐

    Il Padrone Il Padrone 11:20 pm 18 Oct 21

    Costanza Maffi what is this fascinating attraction that cockatoos have for alpacas? 🤔

Colleen Carruthers Colleen Carruthers 11:45 am 17 Oct 21

Dear Ambassador. Boris & Pablo will need an annual haircut. I can recommend Elkins Alpaca Shearing a Canberra based business.

Kathryn Margaret Cafe Kathryn Margaret Cafe 11:41 am 17 Oct 21

Only in Australia

Carole Ford Carole Ford 10:20 am 17 Oct 21

Good choice, Alpacas can be dangerous when threatened. 👍

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