The Backstory Behind the Wonderful Viral Llama Chase


This afternoon, two llamas — let’s call them Bonnie and Clyde — captivated the Internet as they escaped from the chains of captivity and ran free all over the Phoenix suburb of Sun City, Ariz. Several news stations offered a live feed of the incident, as deputies from the local Maricopa County sheriff’s office banded together with nearby citizens to try to capture our furry protagonists.

The Internet was entranced and enthusiastic, producing hundreds of thousands of tweets as the llamas ran. Memes were born, as were parody Twitter accounts. But questions persisted throughout the drama. Where did the llamas come from? How did they come to prance about the city?

According to Chris Hegstrom, an officer at the local sheriff’s office, our heroes belonged to a llama rancher who was traveling with a trailer of his livestock. He was planning to show them to some potential customers that day.

“He was getting ready to show them off, and they got spooked,” Hegstrom told Yahoo Tech. “There were originally three, they all got out initially, and one went right back into the trailer.”

Asked if he had any information about the llama’s names, breeds, or ages, Hegstrom responded:

“We asked them all those questions, but none of them would answer me,” he said. “That’s the thing about llamas, they don’t talk.”

A complete, unedited video of the chase. 

According to Hegstrom, Maricopa’s Lt. Brandon Jones headed the recapturing operation. Rather than send deputies from the department, they relied on the help of bystanders.

“We had some amazing help from nearby citizens,” he said. Indeed, the second llama was captured by what appeared to be a local with a lasso in the back of a pickup truck.

We’ve reached out to wrangler Jones and the llamas for their version of the story. Updates are imminent. This llama drama is not over.

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