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Vicuna - The Fundamentals
The vicuña (pronounced ve-coon-ah) is a species native to the Andes mountain, carefully associated to the guanaco. The vicuña is part of the camel family, though it is by far the smallest member. Compared to a guanaco, the vicuña is only about half the size, has a smaller tail, and finer wool. Home alpacas are likely to have originated from historic vinuña domestication attempts.
Vicuñas occupy the grasslands of the central Andes mountains and are adapted to very high elevations. Actually, most vicuñas are discovered between 10,000 and 15,000 feet – higher than most mountains in many parts of the world. They spend their days feeding throughout the grassy plains. At night time, the herds move back into the hills.
Within the hills and mountainous areas, vicuñas are able to avoid a lot of their predators. They're very nimble alongside rocky ridges, allowing them to evade less agile predators. Nevertheless, pumas are a significant predator of vicuñas, and pumas are more than capable of capturing prey amongst uncertain footing.
Vicuña Wool – One of many World’s Most Costly Fabrics!
The fiber produced by the vicuña is extremely valuable because of its extremely soft and warm nature. Particular person wool fibers are among the finest within the animal kingdom – leading to one of many softest materials in creation when it is weaved together. The material is so expensive that a suit jacket made of vicuña wool can cost upwards of $20,000!
The fibers are designed to keep the animal comfortable in the highly variable surroundings of the Andes Mountains. Within the day, temperatures will be scorching hot. The light color and airiness of vicuña wool make sure that the animals do not overheat. Nighttime within the Andes is a different story, with temperatures typically dropping under freezing. Hole air pockets within the wool keep the organisms warm even within the face of freezing temperatures.
Part of the reason that the vicuña was revered by historic Inca civilization was because of its fine wool. Only Incan royalty was allowed to wear the wool, as a sign of standing and respect. When the Spanish conquistadors invaded South America, vicuña wool was taken back to Europe and grew in widespreadity. Via centuries of unregulated harvesting, the vicuña was practically extinct within the Sixties!
Interesting Insights from the Vicuña!
The vicuña is an enchanting species because of its superb adaptations, and in part because of the history humanity has skilled with the vicuña. While these are fascinating subjects, the vicuña additionally displays several necessary concepts which are essential to all of biology!
Stopping Poaching – Shave the Vicuñas!
The conservation of vicuñas depends on a trick that can be useful to many different endangered species. In the 1970s, the Peruvian government and a number of non-profit organizations teamed as much as prevent the vicuña from going extinct. To take action required the assistance of the community and a large number of wool shears.
This approach helped get the vicuña off of the endangered species list! Although there have been as little as 6,000 vicuña within the Sixties, populations are now well above 350,000! Conservationists working on other species have started adopting this approach, with comparable success. Rhinos and elephants in sure parks have their ivory tusks usually shaved down, making the animals virtually worthless to a poacher. Typically, if the valuable part of an animal may be removed without harm to the animal the method is perfect for reducing poaching.
Quite a lot of animals produces wool – from sheep to llamas – however not all wool is the same. Wool from completely different species can have many various qualities, including its width, size, progress time, and ability to trap air pockets. Vicuña wool is extraordinarily fine and traps air wonderfully – but can take up to 2 years or more to develop out fully!
Most wool-producing animals developed in environments with severe temperature shifts. Wool traps heat when it is too cold and dissipates heat when things start getting too hot. This permits wool-producing animals to live in mountainous environments which have drastic temperature swings regularly. Wool can be covered in oils, which help keep animals dry when it rains heavily.
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