Trent’s alpaca duo, Mac and Hollister, will continue to delight the Peterborough community when they head down the road to the Riverview Park & Zoo after retiring from their work with Trent’s Animal Care program this summer.
“We will miss Mac and Hollister, but could not be happier about their new home and caregivers at the Riverview Park & Zoo,” says Jason Allen, manager of Animal Care at Trent. “It’s great to see a project in animal science where the animals love working with people and then get to go on to a happy retirement with new work enriching people and other animals elsewhere.”
Mac and Hollister came to Trent through a partnership with Talaria Antibodies Inc., a research company that produces antibodies for research and educational purposes. Trent will be continuing its relationship with Talaria, and will be welcoming two new alpaca to the Animal Care program later in July.
“The work is comparable to us receiving a vaccine and then providing a blood donation,” explains Mr. Allen. “What is referred to as the ‘vaccine’ in the metaphor is actually a lab produced peptide and not something that can infect the alpaca. The alpaca’s immune system recognizes the peptide as foreign, and then makes an antibody to start flushing it from the body.”
The resulting anti-serum enables researchers to make advances in fields ranging from human health to animal science and agriculture. Talaria Antibodies Inc. is also considering making blood serum available to local alpaca farmers for medical emergencies, which would have a significant impact, as most farmers need to import serum from out of province.
Reputation for outstanding Animal Care
Trent’s partnership with Talaria can largely be ascribed to the University’s high standards of care and expertise within the Animal Care program.
The program is certified by provincial and federal bodies to work with animals. Trent is also the first Canadian institution to get involved with the European Animal Research Association’s Be Open about Animal Research Day, a new global campaign celebrating proactive communication about animal research.
Friends of Mac and Hollister will soon be able to visit them at their new home at the Riverview Park & Zoo, which will be opening up for guided pre-booked tours on July 2.