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Boris Johnson’s new Pacific home

The Belgian embassy has turned into a menagerie of sorts.

It is rather symbolic of the position that ambassador Michel Goffin holds over combining interests of Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

But from the other side of the world and quite contrary to soured EU relations, the vast collection of animals are headed by an alpaca named Boris.

One of two of the South American camelids on the sprawling grounds of the embassy bears a striking resemblance to British prime minister Boris Johnson.

Embassy Alpaca
Belgian ambassador Michel Goffin with Boris Johnson, the alpaca. Source: Belgium Embassy.

The shaggy hair, the pale complexion, the gaunt expression.

“One with his hair being a bit funny, it had to be called Boris Johnson,” he told ABC radio this week.

Like Boris Johnson, his alpaca namesake has been on the watch since Brexit for uninvited visitors.

Inside past embassy grounds, Mr Goffin started out with ducks when the ambassador was first posted to Laos back in 2012 and later the Philippines.

“They were very nice, friendly, silent and very tasty,” he said.

Ducks have come and ducks have gone, but after the initial gift from Mr Goffin’s secretary the ancestral side of the Belgian was sold on the most French delicacy.

But the latest embassy shuffle to Canberra ran into a bit of a problem.

The three new ducks representing the Pacific lasted just three days.

Foxes broke biosecurity rules during Covid-19 times, spotted roaming the second biggest diplomatic property in the Australian capital.

This sting that is unrelated to the beehives that produce on the property has been set.

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“It’s hard to protect your poultry from foxes in Australia and there is plenty of very sophisticated machines, lights – and alpacas,” Mr Goffin said.

The herding instinct of alpacas will be to corner the intruders inside the perimeters to stamp them with their toenails and the 60 kilograms of weight of their fleecy bodies.

Half of the three hectares is also natural forest that gives the foxes plenty of places to hide amid a proverbial cat-and-mouse game for the alpacas.

“I’m also not convinced because they look so cute to kill,” he said.

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