The vicuņa (Vicugna vicugna) or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to be the wild ancestor of domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their coat. Vicuņas produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, which is very expensive because the animal can only be shorn every 3 years and has to be caught from the wild. When knitted together, the product of the vicuņa's fur is very soft and warm. It is understood that the Inca valued vicuņas highly for their wool, and that it was against the law for any but royalty to wear vicuņa garments.
Both under the rule of the Inca and today, vicuņas have been protected by law. Before being declared endangered in 1974, only about 6,000 animals were left. Today, the vicuņa population has recovered to about 350,000, and while conservation organizations have reduced its level of threat, they still call for active conservation programs to protect population levels from poaching, habitat loss, and other threats.
The vicuņa is the national animal of Peru; its emblem is used on the Peruvian coat of arms representing the animal kingdom.
Picture was taken in La Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca.
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vjmite (3942) 2013-05-11 21:09
Good composition with the vicunas in the foreground and the volcano in the background. Good exposure and sharpness.
jadesgran (5359) 2013-05-11 21:55
A very informative note - Thankyou.
A charming picture of these beautiful creatures.Your P.O.V.is excellent showing their habitat and the mountainous terrain where they live.
olive224 (2719) 2013-05-12 6:59
Nice shot but to my mind it would be better to have heads with a free sky background zone and to shift the volcano to the left (or right but not centered)