The Vicuña is the smallest member of the household of camelids and is considered the alpaca’s wild ancestor. It looks endearing, with its massive, forward-going through eyes and small, wedge-formed head with sharply triangular ears. The colour of the head varies from reddish-brown to yellow, and its neck is pale orange. Its chest is covered with a silky white mane, but the fur of the rest of its body is soft and of the same length. It has a pale brown back and its underside and the internal 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 three,200 meters, grazing on the brief, powerful vegetation of those semi-arid rolling grasslands, marshes and plains known as “antiplano” or “puna”. It inhabits areas the place water is available for it to drink on a day by day basis. The local weather of its habitat is dry, and is hot during the day and cold at night.
Habits and Lifestyle
Vicuñas are shy and alert animals that run away very rapidly. Once they sense danger, they make a transparent whistling noise. The dominant male warns the herd with its alarm call, and then positions himself between the risk 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. Household groups are closed, excluding non-member males and generally even preventing younger female animals from joining. A household group usually numbers 6-10 people, in line with meals availability in its territory. Vicuñas have a feeding territory as well as a separate territory for sleeping. They’re diurnal animals, and at evening go up to their sleeping territory at higher altitudes. Adults that do not lead a herd either develop into solitary, or they join a big herd of 30 to one hundred 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 interval is 330 to 350 days, and a single fawn is born. A fawn can stand just quarter-hour after being born. It stays shut beside its mother for eight months or more, persevering with to suckle until the age of 10 months and turning into independent at around 12 to 18 months of age. Younger males be a part of bachelor groups and younger females be a part of 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 as a result of over-grazing from domestic livestock or human activities, such pollution of water sources and mining, is an extra threat. Local weather change may damage the fragile ecosystem where the vicuña lives. A current potential menace, within the Andes as well as worldwide, is the breeding of a vicuña and alpaca hybrid (a pacovicuña) for commercial purposes.
In keeping with the IUCN Red List, the total inhabitants size of the vicuña is 347,273 individuals, including estimates for specific regions: Argentina: 127,072 or 72,678 people; Bolivia: 62,869 people; Chile: sixteen,942 individuals; Europeanador: 2,683 people; Peru: 188,327 individuals. Vicuñas’ numbers are increasing right this moment and they’re labeled as least concern (LC) on the list of threatened species.
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