Photographer's Note

Parque Nacional Lauca - Vicuñas, protected in the Inca empire

In South America 4 different members of the biological family Camelidae are living:
Llamas and alpacas are domesticated animals while vicuñas and guanacos are wild.

On the picture you see 3 vicuñas. My previous photo also showed vicuñas on a hill slope but the picture was taken from afar. In the WS there was a closer view of these beautiful and graceful animals. But so few people have the time to take a look in the WS … Therefore yet another view as main picture.

Vicuñas are very shy animals and they run away when you want to approach them. You really have to move very quiet and very slow.

In the Inca empire vicuñas were held in high regard. Therefore these animals were protected.
They should not be hunted. Only on indication of the Inca priests, these animals could be gently driven together to be shaved. This was only done once every four years.

With the arrival of the Spaniards this changed. The wool of these animals was highly sought after. The Spaniards also hunted these animals and the vicuñas became almost extinct.

Today they’re protected again and they live high in the Andes in Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Today, the vicuña population has recovered to about 350.000.

Information from Wikipedia.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5077 W: 17 N: 12165] (49020)
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