The vicuña is a wild camelid from South America. The vicuña is the wild ancestor of the domestic alpaca.


Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), Szeged Zoo.

Since ancient times wild vicuñas have been caught and sheered for their wool. They have also been hunted for their meet at various times even though both under Inca rule and in modern time vicuñas are protected by law.

Vicuña wool is considered to be excellent, but since it is collected from wild animals that don’t necessarily cooperate in the sheering, it is very expensive. Perhaps this is why people domesticated the vicuña millenia ago and created the alpaca as a more reliable source of wool.

The vicuña is the national animal of Peru.

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Last updated: August 28, 2014

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