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Tags: vicuña


Vicuñas are the smallest members of the camel family, Camelidae. These social animals live in family groups of up to twenty-five individuals, which usually consist of one dominant male and his harem of females and their young. The male is extremely protective of his harem. He has a specialized call to warn of potential predators and he fights with other males bouts in which, among other things, the opponents may spit at each other. Vicuñas descend from the hills during the day to feed on grasses and other vegetation, then return to the hills to sleep. They are now rare, having been heavily exploited to obtain their coat, which is said to make the best wool in the world. Despite legal protection and the establishment of captive populations, they are still being poached from the few reserves where they survive.

Name: Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna)

Family: Camelidae (Camels and Relatives)

Range: Central Andes

Habitat: Semi-arid grassland in montane regions

Diet: Short perennial grasses

Head and Body Length: 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m)

Tail Length: 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15 cm)

Shoulder Height: 30 to 39 inches (75 to 100 cm)

Weight: 88 to 132 pounds (40 to 60 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating March to April; gestation 330 to 350 days, one young born

Description: Yellowish-red coat; white underneath; large, round eyes; long, narrow, pointed ears; supple neck; slender body with dense, fine fur; long limbs; padded, cloven feet

Conservation Status: Lower Risk (Conservation Dependent)

Major Threat: Habitat loss and degradation

What Can I Do?: Visit WWF for information on how you can help.

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