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Llamas, Alpacas & Vicuñas


What is the difference between the camelids of South America? First off, you need to know that two have been domesticated: the llama and the alpaca. Two are still found in the wild: the vicuña and the guanaco.

Llamas (below) were the pack animal of the Inca and you can read more about pack llamas at the Llama Pack Project. Their wool is very rough but is still used for ropes and some blankets. Their meat is dried for jerky (charki) but almost never eaten otherwise.


Alpacas (below) are prized for their incredibly warm and strong wool. Baby alpaca wool is especially prized for its softness. Their meat is often served in the sorts of dishes where you could expect beef elsewhere. They have rounder, furrier faces than llamas and have smaller mouths and teeth.

Read the full content in the app
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Pampa Galeras

See vicuña in the wild

Alpaca wool

What’s baby alpaca wool?

Text © Heather Jasper

Images by Heather Jasper