The alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a species of South American mammal of the Camelidae family. There are two alpaca varieties: the Suri alpaca and the Huacaya alpaca. They are similar and often confused with the llama. However, the alpacas are noticeably smaller. Camelids are closely related, can cross successfully and produce fertile offspring. Alpacas and llamas are related to the vicuña, which is believed to be the ancestor of the alpaca, along with the guanaco.
Alpacas live in numerous herds that graze and are kept in herds in the high Andes, from southern Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile between 3,500 – 5,000 mamsl. Alpacas, unlike llamas, were not bred to be working animals, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used to create a varieties of garments or items, similar to sheep’s wool, these items are blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, coats, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America and other parts of the world. Fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors classified in Peru, 12 classified in Australia and 16 classified in the United States.
The alpaca fiber has a greater demand over the fabrication of clothes, maybe one with more demand over wool. The influx in demand for alpaca fiber in the textile and fashion industry can be attributed to the increasing awareness about the high quality and sustainability. Deluxe to the touch, lightweight, warm, cozy, garments made from alpaca fiber are quickly catching on as one of the world’s best kept secrets in the clothing and fashion industry. Once you’ve experienced alpaca apparel, you can never go back to wear winter clothes made of other kind of wool. If we only take the Peruvian alpaca breeders in our world, we have that they produce 87% of the world’s alpaca population, and the annual production of alpaca fiber in Peru stands for over 4,501 tons, this business have a great potential for expand the exportation around the world surpassing the 68 million US$ by the end of the year 2017.