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Vicuna pacos

The alpaca is a member of the camelid family from South America. The ancient Incas first domesticated the alpaca more than 6,000 years ago. They made robes of alpaca fur for nobles and royalty. The single alpaca species has two breeds: the dreadlocked suri and the fluffy huacaya.

They are friendly, sociable mammals that prefer to live in herds. However, they spit as a defence mechanism to ward off unwanted attention.

Animal class


Conservation status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) considers that the alpaca is not yet facing a risk of extinction in the wild but it is dependent on conservation measures.


Grasslands in the Andes in Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia


By 1960 the population had dropped to less than 6,000, but conservation measures have ensured that the population is now stable in several National Reserves.


Herbivore - eats perennial grasses or hay