"Alpacas The South American Camelids"
What is an Alpaca? We can learn a bit about this wonderful animal that plays an important role in the Peruvian Andean people's lives.
Alpacas are a species of camelids originally from South America. The domestication of Alpacas happened a very long time ago. in fact, some archeologists suggest that Alpacas were domesticated in the Peruvian Andes about 6,000-7,000 years ago.
There was a point in time when alpacas were close to extinction. When the Spanish came during the conquest they didn’t appreciate the alpacas and wanted to clear the area to make room for European domesticated animals. The Spaniards also brought diseases that were fatal to alpacas. Local people at the time, knowing the importance of the animal, managed to move further away and higher in the mountains to save the species. You can find them at an altitude of 3,500 – 5,000 meters
Alpacas live up to 20-25 years of age, their height is between 120-150 cm and weight between 45-79 kg. The period of gestation is 11-12 months and they have 1 baby that weighs around 8 kg
There’s two types of Alpacas, Huacaya and Suri
Huacaya Alpaca: Huacaya fleece is soft, puffy, spongy, crimped and bulky grows in bundles providing greater elasticity making it very well suited for knitting.
Suri Alpaca: Suri fiber, like Huacaya, can be very fine and silky, but grows straight and hangs down in locks. Suri is best suited for woven goods.
There’s an estimated number of 3.5 – 4 million Alpacas in South America, most of them are located in Peru, mostly in the southern regions. Peru produces 80% of the production of alpaca fiber in the world.