Trivia question for Jul-31-2011
Carter found these guys and thought they were cool. These are wild relatives of the Llama that inhabits the bleak, dry grassy plateaus of the high Andes. Their family groups commute daily between firmly established resting and feeding territories.
Both under the rule of the Inca and today, these animals have been protected by law. Before being declared endangered in 1974, only about 6,000 animals were left. Today, their population has recovered to about 350,000, and while conservation organizations have reduced its level of threat, they still call for active conservation programs to protect population levels from poaching, habitat loss, and other threats.
So here are Carter’s questions: Tell us what this cute looking mammal is and how they are able to extract enough oxygen from the high altitude habitat where they live? Also, Incas of Peru rounded up herds of these wild animals each year and penned them in stone enclosures. Tell us why they did this?
Good Luck 😉
Congratulations goes out to several folks who each answered a part of the trivia correctly. Denver Thomas Cayetano from Belize was the first to identify the species, Tami Kannenberg from Bellingham WA was the first to answer the rest of the trivia and our good friend Carmel from FL advised us that these animals made a good meal for Pumas occasionally. The furry animal we featured is the Vicuña.
The vicuña is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre. Vicuñas produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, which is very expensive because the animal can only be shorn every 3 years. When knitted together, the product of the vicuña’s fur is very soft and warm. It is understood that the Inca valued vicuñas for their wool (which is why they kept them penned up), and that it was against the law for any but royalty to wear vicuña garments.
As for their ability to extract enough oxygen in the thin air where they live, this is because their blood has a very high red corpuscle count. Here is more on these valuable little guys. Vicuña
Thanks for playing along 😉