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  • Beth & Tim Manners

‘Llamapalooza’ Helps Berkeley Students Relax

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

The Guardian: “On Friday, students flocked to UC Berkeley’s Memorial Glade for Llamapalooza, a human-llama social occasion on a sunny campus lawn. The eight animals were scattered throughout the crowd, munching grass while the adoring masses petted, fed and photographed them under the supervision of trained student volunteers. The semesterly event is intended to help Berkeley students relax before the tests. For many, it works. Ana Claire Mancia, a business major who graduates this year, launched Llamapalooza a year and a half ago. The Guardian was granted exclusive access to her final event as a student, as she sought to avoid the heavy press presence of previous semesters. ‘When you’re around a llama, you become very calm and at peace,’ she said.”


“Indeed, despite being surrounded by throngs of overexcited humans, the llamas themselves remained remarkably calm. Their drooping eyelashes created an impression of utter contentment as they helped themselves to large quantities of campus vegetation … Many students took pre-exam solace in the llamas’ fur, lauded as ‘quite fuzzy’ and ‘surprisingly soft’ … But interactions weren’t limited to petting. Mancia taught the Guardian what is known as a ‘llama greeting.’ The trick is to approach the animal nose-to-nose and ‘breathe the same air,’she said.”


“This easy rapport is why George Caldwell, who raises the llamas and brings them to campus, believes they are so well-suited to such visits. Thanks to a long history living among humans in South America, ‘these guys developed social skills that are just amazing,’ Caldwell says … Caldwell had been bringing the animals to Berkeley to de-stress the students for several years before Mancia launched Llamapalooza, but the event was somewhat under the radar. Llamapalooza changed that. Now, the event typically gets 5,000 RSVPs on Facebook, Mancia says, with one to two thousand students actually showing up.”