Vicuña

Least concern

Virgil, Chiko and Vidal are the three vicuñas in the park


Scientific name : Vicugna vicugna

Where do they live?

Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile and the northwest of Argentina

Did you know?

Behind an elegant silhouette, a body of an athlete!
Vicuña are perfectly adapted to the difficult living conditions of the Andes. They are the smallest of the 4 species of llamas but also the most massive. Their efficient hearts and the haemoglobin in their blood help compensate for the low-oxygen levels at high altitude. Their teeth are adapted to the short and tough vegetation of the high plains, just like the incisors of rodents that keep growing throughout their lives.

The vicuña is the smallest species of wild camelids. Its body is slim with long legs and a slender neck protected by a mane. This diurnal animal takes refuge in high altitudes to sleep. Vicuñas live in family groups of 6 to 10 individuals on average. They are exclusively herbivores. Females are fertile at the age of 2 and give birth to a single offspring per litter.
Vicuñas are fearful and always alert to avoid predators (mainly pumas). They live in the upper Andes Mountains at an elevation between 3500 and 5500 m. These animals are very popular for their soft and fine fur.

Length

125 to 190 cm.

Height

70 to 110 cm at the withers.

Weight

35 to 45 kg.

Life expectancy

20 years in the wild, 25 years in captivity.

Gestation period

11 months.

Birth weight

4 to 6 kg.

Keep up hope

The vicuña: A success story in the world of conservation!

Vicuña populations were estimated to total 2 million individuals at the time of the Incas. With the arrival of the conquistadors, this number dropped to approximately 6000 to 10,000 in 1960. National and international efforts through a conservatory for the vicuña managed to reverse the trend. The education of local populations also helps perpetuate conservation efforts in the long-term.