Alpacas made their entry into Britain in the 19th century. Alpacas were imported to Britain from Peru by Edward Smith Stanley the 13th Earl of Derby (1775-1851) a naturalist who had a large collection of animals at his menagerie at Knowsley outside Liverpool. Even Queen Victoria had a small herd of alpacas at Windsor Great Park.
Alpaca at the Menagerie in Knowsley (circa 1850)
A few people tried to keep alpacas in Britain in the 19th century but failed as they did not have the knowledge to look after these animals. Alpacas were not accustomed to living in a wet and grey Britain. The alpacas that were imported from the high Andean mountains needed UV sunlight and special mineral supplements. The early owners of alpacas did not know the diseases that the alpacas were prone to get when living outside the environment they were accustomed to. Those who realized that it was not easy to breed alpacas successfully exported them to South Africa and Australia.