Information in this section has been
graciously donated to Apparel Search by The
National Partnership of Peru's Vicu a Breeders (SNV).
fundamental aims are to protect, preserve, manage and utilize in a rational
and organized manner the vicu a and guanaco species and to promote the
sustainable development of the farmers communities of the high Andean
plateaus of Peru. For more information about
Vicu a from peru,
click here to go to the SNV web
After having been sheared, the
Vicu a fiber is classified as described next.
Classification of the Vicu a Fiber according to the size.
I.- Long Commercial Fiber: It
is the fiber that has a length of 2 or more centimeters and include two
Type A with a
diameter of 12 microns
Type B with a
diameter of 13 microns
In the first case, the fiber
stems from the back of the animal whereas, in the second case, the fiber
comes from its flanks.
II.- Short Fiber: This fiber
has a length of less than 2 centimeters. It is obtained from the
classification done during the dehairing phase.
Classification of the Vicu a Fiber according to its condition
I.-Dirty fiber: This fiber is
the one obtained after the shearing of the animal.
II.- Dehaired fiber: The
dehairing consists in eliminating broadly the hair, the plant's rests and
the inert material remaining in the fiber.
III.- Clean fiber: The
cleaning consists in eliminating completely all the hair remaining in the
South American Camelids
The Camelids appeared in North
America during the Pliocene at the end of which they migrated to Africa and
Asia through the Bering Strait some 3 million years ago.
They evolved there to form the
Camelini tribe, including the modern Bactriano camel of Asia with 2
humps and the dromedary, or camel with one hump, located in the Near East
and North Africa.
Similarly, the Camelids
migrated south through the Panama isthmus and spread in South America where
the Lamini tribe was formed. Finally, the ancestral Camelids
disappeared in North America.
Nowadays, The South American
Camelids are represented by the Vicu a Vicugna Vicugna (with 2
sub-species: the first one, namely the southern vicu a V.v.vicugna,
is located south of the latitude 18S, and is bigger and clearer than the
northern Vicu a, the V.v. mensalis), the Guanaco Lama guanico,
which would be the ancestor of the domestic lama, the Lama Glama, and
of the Alpaca, Lama pacas. South American Camelids belong to the
Artiodactyla order, sub-order Ruminantia, family Camelidae.
It is estimated that the
worldwide population of South American Camelids amounts to some 7.5
millions, that are mainly located in four Latin American countries. Some
90% of these animals include domestic species (Lamas and Alpacas), whereas
the other 10% are made up of wild species (Vicu a and Guanaco).
In the year 2000, out of the
total in the continent, some 90% of the Alpacas and 64% of the Vicu as were
located in Peru, whereas 60% of the Llamas were in Bolivia and 95% of the
Guanacos in Argentina.
Approximated population of
South American Camelids (*)
Camelids distribution in
Latin America (*)
Camelids population in Latin
Camelids distribution in Peru (*)
The Vicu a
Vicugna Vicugna Vicugna
THE VICU A AND ITS HABITAT
The Vicu a (Vicugna vicugna
vicugna), a beautiful wild animal, is the smallest species of the four South
American Camelids and its habitat is constituted by the High Andes territory
at an altitude of 3,800 to 5,000 meters. This territory includes, in Peru,
16 departments (namely: Ancash, Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca,
Cusco, Hu nuco, Huancavelica, Ica, Jun n, La Libertad, Lima, Moquegua,
Pasco, Puno, Tacna) in which is concentrated the rural population living in
the poverty and even extreme poverty.
According to the last
National Vicu as Census 2000-CONACS, the Vicu as population amounted to
118,678 animals on an area of 6 660,998 hectares in the frame of the Nine
Regional Association, representing some 60% of worldwide Vicu as
Within the Inca Era, the
average Vicu as population amounted to 2 million animals thanks to the fact
that it was managed in an appropriate way. Its utilization was narrowed,
because it was considered as a sacred animal, and limited to the Chaccu
practice (capture) with a strong ritual content.
During the conquest and the
Vice-Kingdom, began an indiscriminating depredation due to the fineness of
its fiber and, in spite of the numerous legal measures passed between 1825
(Bolivar) until 1962, the Vicu as killing went on at an accelerated rhythm
mainly due to the international demand of its fiber.
Only since the 1960's, a
movement aimed at the preservation of flora and fauna has begun. In 1966,
an Agreement was signed between the Lucanas Community and the Forestry,
Hunting and Fauna Service, which permitted the creation of the Pampa Galeras
Since 1972, on the basis of
the Cooperation Agreement between Peru and Germany, technical and financial
support could be obtained to implement the project named Repopulation and
Rational Management of the Wild Vicu a . Thereby, the National Reserve of
Pampa Galeras became an experimental center for all the technology related
to the Vicu a not only for Peru but also for all the other countries
possessing this precious species.
DISTRIBUTION AND CURRENT SITUATION.
The Vicu a lives in the High
Andes at an altitude of 3000 to 4000 meters. The Vicu as population is
currently spread between 9 30
S and 29 00 's in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
It is interesting to stress on
the fact that more than the half of the total of Vicu as living in those
countries is located in Peru. However, its preservation in those countries
has to face, nowadays, a series of difficulties. The Vicu a in Argentina is
gradually recovering in spite of the problems related to furtive hunting.
In Bolivia, the population is unstable due to the lag of continuity in the
protection policy established a few years ago. In Chile, on the other hand,
the Vicu as population is clearly recovering and the threat of its
disappearance has recently been moved away.
Distribution of the Vicu a in
Latin America (*)
The worldwide population is
currently stable but could rapidly decrease if an end was put to the
THE VICU A's SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
The Vicu a is a gregarious and
territorial animal whose social organization can be divided in three groups:
I.- The Family Group
This group is made up of a
male, approximately 6 or more females and their offspring of the current
year. It is a territorial family group in which the male is the one
defending the territory against other family males or young males. At the
age of 8 months, the male offspring is expelled from the group and, as this
occurs in several family groups, those animals gather and make up the males
Those herds, which can reach
up to 200 members in the highly populated regions, are made up of young
males that still haven't reached their reproductive age. The members have
no leader and migrate through wide areas in continuous conflict with the
family males, which they will finally replace in the family group.
III.- The loners
Generally, the loners are
old males removed from their family group and their territory.
THE VICU A's BIOLOGY
The Vicu a's gestation lasts
eleven months and the female gives birth to only one animal during the
period lasting from February to April. The frequency of births is higher
during the sunny days between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. due to the fact that the
Vicu a is unable to lick its offspring; as a result, this latter must dry
out in the natural environment.
-The Vicu a is an herbivorous animal living mainly on small seeds of
the High Andes.
-The Vicu a is perfectly adapted to the High Andes ecology because of
its really fine fiber which keeps the animal warm, allowing it to resist the
The Vicu a has a brown color
and holds some 14 million red blood cells per cubic millimeter, allowing it
to harness the rare oxygen of the High Andes. Its hard paws contain small
cushions and are well-adapted to rocky grounds. Their teeth continually
grow until they re getting on, preventing them from premature damages due to
hard and dry grass. They live in an open atmosphere and their best defense
against their enemies is to escape since they can reach a speed of about 45
Kms per hour.
-The Vicu a's predators are the pumas and the foxes. The Condor, as
far as he is concerned, eats dead Vicu as but also attacks weak and ill
animals. In normal conditions the Vicu as population can reach a net annul
raise of 17% on average.
-The Vicu a, as a wild animal, shows some clear advantages in
comparison with the domestic species in our country, as Peru possesses the
endemic genetic material which makes genetic improvement techniques
unnecessary. Furthermore, the species offers the opportunity to be handled
in its wild state, with low costs of infrastructure.
The sexual courting of the
Lama troubles the producer but it copulates a lot faster than the
extravagant Vicu a .
THREATS AGAINST VICU AS SURVIVAL.
The most important threats
against Vicu as survival include illegal hunting, the increase of the
competition with domestic Lamas and Alpacas for pasture lands, and the lack
of funds to develop preservation activities on a long term basis. Illegal
hunting has increased in Bolivia and Peru, overwhelming the control's
possibilities of the authorities, particularly in the zones affected by the
guerrilla. It is needed that the populations living in the Vicu as
territories get conscious of the benefits that long term preservation of the
species can hold.
The bad weather, the
pumas predation, among others, are also considered as brakes for the
reappearance of Vicu as in some areas.
THE VICU A's TAXONOMY
Multi-cellularsystems living by ingestion
Cordados: Animals with
spinal cord or nervous system
Vertebrates: Cordados with a spinal column
Vertebrates with four paws
Mammals: they have hair on their skin
Mammals with even hooves
South Amercian Camelids
I. Vicugna Vicugna Vicugna
II. Vicugna Vicugna Mensalis
THE GUANACO SPECIES
The Guanaco is considered to
be a wild species, like the Vicu a. Some scientists think that Lamas and
Alpacas are races derived from the Guanaco. Other consider that they re
different species. Actually, we can say that both theories are valid.
In the natural environment,
those animals make up herds of 5 to 10 females, a male and their offspring.
The period in which the Guanacos are in heat corresponds to the southern
summer, between November and February. The gestation period lasts eleven
The Guanaco belongs to the
South American Camelids and is a little bigger than the Vicu a. This animal
could be classified in four sub-species, that are described next:
L.g.guanacos, living in Argentina and Chile to the south of the 38 S.
L.g.huanacus, existing only in Chile
L.g.cacsilensis can be found in the High Andes of Peru, Bolivia and the
North-East part of Chile.
L.g.voglii only lives between the 21 S and the 31 S of the Argentinean
DISTRIBUTION AND CURRENT SITUATION(GUANACO)
The species can be found
throughout the Andean chain of mountains, from the North of Peru (8 S) to
the Earth of Fire (53 S), and also in the Argentinean Patagonia. In the old
days, its territory was spreading further up north and, in the south, it
included Paraguay, Uruguay and the South of Brazil.
Nowadays, those animals are
situated in cold regions but they are considered to be animals living in
dry climates, and therefore indifferent to the temperature.
In Bolivia, the current
distribution spreads from the 19 S to the 22 S and from the 62 W to the 65
W. The species lives there at an altitude of 300 to 3800 meters high.
In Chile, an important
Guanaco population lives in the Earth of Fire whereas another lives all
along the Argentinean border.
In Peru, Guanacos spread
out in 5 departments, mainly to the south of the country. The estimated
population for those countries is the following:
Guanacos distribution in
Latin America (*)
The distribution and density
of population of the guanacos in South America haven't been accurately
determined up to now. However, current datas point out that both factors
are considered to be stable even if they are likely to decrease rapidly.
THREATS AGAINST GUANACOS'sURVIVAL
The main threat against
Guanacos survival comes from the intense commercial hunting and the fact
that Chilean and Argentinean cattle's breeders are opposed to Guanacos
because they compete with their cattle regarding food and water, and,
furthermore, because the Guanaco is considered to be a carrier of illnesses.
THE GUANACO's TAXONOMY
systems living by ingestion
Cordados: Animals with
spinal cord or nervous system