Vicuña

One of the few wild animals to have been used for obtaining wool without domestication

David Torres Costale

Vicuñas are hooved mammals found at high altitudes in western South America. Extinction of this species was practically inevitable by the mid of 20th century as they were being hunted extensively for their costly wool and traded illegally because of their quality.

Local and international conservational efforts have since restored their population; today, more than 350,000 animals are in the wild compared to 6000 in the 1960s. Although their population has been restored to a healthy level, poaching, illegal trafficking, and habitat destruction remain constant and ever-increasing threats.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Argentina
72,678 – 127,072
LC
2018
2006 national census
Bolivia
163,331
LC
2018
Vicuña Convention 2017
Chile
12,103
LC
2018
Vicuña Convention 2017
Ecuador
2018
Introduced
Peru
218,000
LC
2018
MINAGRI 2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No