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Vicuna - Facts, Diet, Habitat
The Vicuña is the smallest member of the household of camelids and is considered the alpaca's wild ancestor. It looks endearing, with its large, forward-going through eyes and small, wedge-shaped head with sharply triangular ears. The color of the head varies from reddish-brown to yellow, and its neck is pale orange. Its chest is covered with a silky white mane, however the fur of the rest of its body is soft and of the identical length. It has a pale brown back and its underside and the inside parts of its flanks are soiled white.
The vicuña inhabits the Andes in southern Peru, north-western Argentina, western Bolivia, and northern Chile. It lives in mountainous areas above 3,200 meters, grazing on the brief, robust vegetation of those semi-arid rolling grasslands, marshes and plains known as "antiplano" or "puna". It inhabits areas where water is available for it to drink on a every day basis. The local weather of its habitat is dry, and is scorching throughout the day and cold at night.
Habits and Way of life
Vicuñas are shy and alert animals that run away very rapidly. Once they sense hazard, they make a transparent whistling noise. The dominant male warns the herd with its alarm call, and then positions himself between the menace and his herd. A single dominant male is the leader of a gaggle of juveniles and females. He decides the range of the herd's territory and its membership, and drives other male vicuñas away from his group. Family groups are closed, excluding non-member males and generally even preventing younger female animals from joining. A family group often numbers 6-10 people, based on meals availability in its territory. Vicuñas have a feeding territory as well as a separate territory for sleeping. They are diurnal animals, and at night time go up to their sleeping territory at higher altitudes. Adults that do not lead a herd either grow to be solitary, or they join a big herd of 30 to a hundred and fifty individuals.
Vicuñas are polygynous, the dominant male mating with all mature females from his herd. The mating season begins in March or April. The gestation period is 330 to 350 days, and a single fawn is born. A fawn can stand just 15 minutes after being born. It stays shut beside its mom for 8 months or more, continuing to suckle till the age of 10 months and changing into unbiased at around 12 to 18 months of age. Younger males be part of bachelor teams and young females join a sorority. Females are sexually mature at 2 years and a few are still reproducing at 19 years.
Poaching takes place, the vicuña’s coat and products being smuggled in giant amounts to Asia and Europe. Habitat loss attributable to over-grazing from home livestock or human activities, such air pollution of water sources and mining, is an extra threat. Local weather change could damage the delicate ecosystem the place the vicuña lives. A latest potential menace, within the Andes as well as worldwide, is the breeding of a vicuña and alpaca hybrid (a pacovicuña) for commercial purposes.
In accordance with the IUCN Red List, the total population measurement of the vicuña is 347,273 individuals, together with estimates for particular areas: Argentina: 127,072 or 72,678 individuals; Bolivia: 62,869 individuals; Chile: 16,942 individuals; Europeanador: 2,683 individuals; Peru: 188,327 individuals. Vicuñas’ numbers are rising right this moment and they are categorized as least concern (LC) on the list of threatened species.
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