Class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla Family: Camelidae
Weight: 99-120 lbs
Tough, short grasses
Habitat & Range
Andes Mountains in South America
- Vicuñas are the smallest members of the camel family. They are a relative of the llama, and are believed to be the wild ancestor of the alpaca.
- Vicuñas feed on tough, short grasses that grow in their dry grassland habitats. Their lower incisors grow constantly like a rodent’s. They are the only ungulate (hoofed animal) with continuously growing teeth.
- The Incas highly valued vicuñas for their wool. They are also the national animal of Peru, and they are featured on the Peruvian coat of arms.
- Vicuñas live in high altitude grasslands and plains which tend to be hot and dry during the day, and freezing at night. They have fleece to protect them in such a harsh habitat.
Vicuñas are listed as Least Concern by IUCN. However, they are listed as threatened by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. They are also included on Appendices I and II of CITES
Vicuñas were once heavily hunted for their wool and meat, and as a result they came close to extinction in the 1960s. Their numbers in the wild have recovered due to strict laws and regulations, however their populations are managed through conservation programs.