A small herd of bright-eyed llamas could soon be relishing life across the roof flora of the University of Central Lancashire’s £60 million Student Centre.
Planning permission has already been lodged which, if granted, would see the fun-loving animals trimming the roof garden’s green spaces, providing a mental health boost for students as well as playing an important role in UCLan’s new School of Veterinary Medicine’s teaching and research.
Like the sheep which reside on the rooftop of the Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre at nearby Barton Grange, the llamas will be kept in place by a five-foot high fence around the roof’s perimeter. They’ll even have their own staircase to come up and down as they please.
UCLan’s Dr Heather Bacon, Veterinary Clinical Senior Lecturer said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming our herd of llamas to campus. Commonly found in the Andes Mountains of Peru, llamas are used to high altitude and harsh weather conditions so our Student Centre roof garden should provide the ideal environment for our llamas to thrive.
“While it would be common for veterinary students to work with large animals such as cows and sheep, llama care skills training, behaviour and welfare represent a growing niche specialism which we are keen to fulfil.
“We’re also investigating the possibility of our new furry friends being joined by a muddle of guinea pigs. Not only can they eat five times their weight in grass, they’ll also play a key role in the small animal care aspect of our teaching curriculum.”
An added benefit of the initiative is that llama manure, referred to by llama farmers as ‘llama beans’ has almost no odour and therefore makes for a great, eco-friendly fertilizer which UCLan’s grounds team plan to spread liberally across the University estate.
The University hopes the planning permission green light will be granted in the next few weeks enabling the llamas to be moved into their new rooftop surroundings during Spring and fully settled for September 2022 when the University’s new School of Veterinary Medicine officially opens its doors.