Alpaca - Vicuña pacos
Alpacas are native to the high Andes in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. The alpaca is a member of the Camelid family. Characteristically similar to its larger cousin the Llama and smaller cousin the Vicuna.
The alpaca is farmed by the indigenous farmers of the region. A families status is often measured by the size and quality of the alpaca herd they farm.
In the 16th century the Spanish invaded South America and conquered the Inca Empire. They looted the gold, silver and jewellery that was synonymous with Inca reign. In truth the Inca always stated that the Spanish may have ended the empire but they missed the true wealth of the Inca people – the fleece of the alpaca and the vicuna.
Even today the Vicuna fleece is still selling at prices normally associated with the silver and gold trade.
The alpaca has evolved to live in the dry high cold deserts of the Andes and around such places as the Atacama Desert. There are places in this region that have not seen rain for hundreds of years.
Because of the dryness of the Andes the alpaca has developed a dry fleece that is now classed as one of the noble fibres alongside mohair, cashmere and vicuna to name but a few.
It is also perfectly suited to its environment with a fleece that keeps it both warm during the freezing nights and dry during the hot days. The fibre has superior moisture absorption and wicking ability to take away any moisture generated by the hot animal.
It is this property that makes the fibre perfect for the most comfortable night’s sleep imaginable.