Santa Barbara, California
Other name(s): Paco-Vicuña; Pacuna
Scientific name: Vicugna pacos x Vicugna vicugna
Country / Place of origin: South America
History: The Vicuña belongs to the camelid family of Llamas, Alpacas and Guanacos. Vicuña and Guanacos are wild, while Alpaca and Llamas have been domesticated. A 2001 genetic study found that Alpaca are descended from Vicuña, and Llamas are descended from Guanacos. In Peru and other Andean nations, there is a long history of both accidental and intentional cross breeding of Alpacas and Vicuñas. As the export of live Vicuña is forbidden by international law (CITES Appendix I), Alpacas in the Altiplano that exhibited the attributes of an Alpaca x Vicuña cross (size and fine fiber) were exported to the United States and other nations. These animals were given the name "Paco-Vicuña" (or "Pacuna"), and breeding programs were created. The goal is to develop a gentle, domesticated animal which produces fiber finer than the 18-30 micron average for Alpaca, and closer to the 12 microns of Vicuña fiber, which is considered the most valuable natural fiber in the world.
Current Uses: Vicuña fiber averages only 12 microns in thickness, making it finer than cashmere, which reaches 17 microns. In contrast, According to the New England Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association Alpaca fiber averages 18 - 30 microns.
Appearance: Vicuña are the smallest and most delicate of the camelids, and weigh only about 100 pounds.
Average weight: - 100 lbs.
Lifespan: 0 - 20 years
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: