From Northern Colorado Public Radio:
When The Alpaca Bubble Burst, Breeders Paid The Price
Known for their calm temperaments and soft fleece, alpacas looked like the next hot thing to backyard farmers. The market was frenetic, with some top of the line animals selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Following in the footsteps of ostriches, chinchillas and Dutch tulips, alpacas represent the latest in a long line of speculative agricultural bubbles.
But the bubble burst, leaving thousands of alpaca breeders with near-worthless herds. Today, craigslist posts across the country advertise “herd liquidations” and going out of business deals on alpacas, some selling for as low as a dollar.
It’s just one more chapter in a long line of agricultural speculative bubbles that have roped in investors throughout history, throwing money at everything from emus to chinchillas to Berkshire pigs to Dutch tulips, only to find themselves in financial ruin after it bursts.
One day in 2006, while browsing the Internet, Terry Holtz’s wife Dena came across a photo of a cuddly creature with a slender neck and long eyelashes.
“She happened to see a picture of one,” Holtz says. “And she says, ‘Oh, they’re the most adorable animals.’”
At first he thought it was a llama, the alpaca’s South American cousin known for its ability to guard livestock and haul heavy gear into mountainous terrain. Alpacas tend to be smaller, furrier, more skittish and prone to herds than the llama. The trick in deciphering between the two is in the ears. A llama’s ears are longer, more banana-shaped than the alpaca’s....MOREI also did not know there had been an emu bubble but a quick Google search for 'Emu bubble' returns as its first hit a 13-page PDF titled "The Great Emu Bubble".