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Vicugna

Animal Essentials

Scientific Name:
Vicuna vicuna
Park Location:
Zoo
Origin:
Southern Peru, western Bolivia, north-western Argentina, and northern Chile
Habitat:
Grasslands and plains

Amazing Facts

Vicunas are related to camels.
The wool from a vicuna is the most luxurious in the world.

In 1974 numbers of Vicugnas had dropped to just 6,000 animals. Now they number around 125,000 due to conservation measures and government protection.

Believed to be the wild ancestor of the domesticated Alpaca, Vicugnas feed on the few grasses and roots they can find high up in the Andes plateaus. The vicugna is extremely slender with a long limbs and neck and striking white hair on its chest that measures between eight and twelve inches long.

To avoid inbreeding, the male will chase off his offspring when they reach around one year old. In turn, the females will join another herd. Males below 1 year old tend to form bachelor groups until they are ready to mate themselves. Mating takes place in March and April with one foal being born 11 months later. The foal will drink its mother’s milk for 10 months, but will start to graze at around 6 months of age.

Conservation

The numbers of vicugna in the wild are large and stable. However, this is only because they are protected by law. These laws are not always enforced and hard to regulate in remote areas. However, due to restricted trade the vicugna are not under threat.

Threat Status

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