REINDEER are in short supply in the New Forest - plenty of roe, red and sika deer, but no reindeer.

However, Father Christmas won't be beaten.

He's breaking in a new recruit to buck up his under-strength sleigh team.

Chuckie the alpaca, who lives at Longdown Activity Farm, is used to the frozen heights of the Andes so he's prepared to try his luck at flying on December 24.

Meanwhile, Santa has installed himself in the festive grotto at Longdown, and is ready to hand out gifts and advice on Christmas lists.

The activity farm near Ashurst is open from 10am until 5pm until December 22. Santa will be receiving visitors between 10.30am and 12.30pm, and 1.30pm and 4pm.

All the usual farm activities will be on offer - including bottle-feeding kids and calves, cuddling rabbits and chicks, and, of course, meeting Chuckie and his alpaca pal Tommy.