Emus and llamas might be enlisted for guard duty at a relocated kangaroo farm.
The animals could patrol a corridor between two tall fences at the newly approved site of the Kangaroo Creek Farm, which is moving to Ellison from Lake Country.
“Within that corridor, we can potentially put animals that are kind of like guard animals,” Caroline McPherson, a farm director, told Central Okanagan regional district board members on Monday.
“They don’t tolerate strange animals within their pens. Emus would be a good example of that. Llamas would be a good example of that,” McPherson said.
In response to a question from Kelowna Coun. Charlie Hodge about animal safety at the farm, however, McPherson thought the two fences — the outer one of 2.4 metres and the inner one of 1.8 metres — would be sufficient.
“I think the fences in and of themselves will be adequate,” McPherson said. “I mean, we do have experience with this.”
The kangaroo farm, a petting zoo that’s operated in downtown Lake Country for many years, is moving to leased agricultural land owned by Kelowna’s Bennett family at 5932 Old Vernon Rd., north of the airport.
Regional district board members granted a temporary use permit of three years’ duration, with an option for a further renewal of three more years.
A relocation was necessary, farm operators say, largely because parking was inadequate at the Lake Country site. A long list of conditions imposed by the board included keeping away from Mill Creek, ensuring the farm is only a seasonal operation, no permanent buildings, and the fencing requirement.
“How high can a kangaroo jump?” asked Central Okanagan West director Wayne Carson.
McPherson said it depends on the species of kangaroo, how much room they have to get a running start and whether they’ve had a history of prior escapes.
But mostly, McPherson said, kangaroos at the farm tend to have the shape of a “Hershey’s Kiss,” which she said makes it very unlikely they could jump the fence.
“You figure they’re too fat to jump the fence?” Carson asked.
“I think so,” replied McPherson. “We’ve never had them go over a six-foot fence. And if they got over a six-foot fence, they’d probably be too tired to get over an eight-foot fence.”