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Latest Alpaca News – Nobody Escapes Getting a Trim

Alpaca trekkersIt’s been quite some time since November 2014 when the first herd of donated alpacas slowly walked into their old-new home near Cusco, Peru. The project began in 2013 with an expertly study of the environment and especially the local grasses. It was most important to make sure that the Andean Camelids originally from Cordillera Vilcanota will prosper before reintroducing them near different communities in the Cordillera Vilcabamba. The necessary funds have been collected thanks to the successful partnership with Dragoman – an overland travel agency from the United Kingdom. Finally the alpacas have returned to the area after having been extinct for 200 years. To this date there are total of 3 herds of alpacas in the mountains and this year 11 new alpaca babies were born. The more animals the better the genome of the species will be preserved  and the further they will spread over their original habitat.

How does this help the economy?

Alpaca Baby

One of the alpaca babies surrounded by the herd.

The Reintroduction of the Andean Camelids Community Project has several different stages: (1) reforestation that protects the original grasses, (2) reintroduction of the animals and (3) teaching the local community members the alpaca wool production process. Once they learn the crafts they will become independent artisans with much more permanent income. The local communities have received the alpacas as a donation. So far, the initial phase of reintroducing alpacas and adapting them to the new environments especially the grasses has been concluded. The positive result is the new born alpaca babies.

Alpaca scarf

Recently first wool was sheared and we have received the first colorful scarf dyed with natural ingredients in our office. It was spinned and weaved by Magdalena Lorenzo’s wife. Lorenzo (working in the picture below) takes care of the well-being of the alpacas. Both will share their breeding and weaving experience with Vilcabamba Communities, so that the project grows bigger. With the two following trekking groups Lorenzo, Magdalena and other experienced women from the Lares Community (where our previous community project took place) will be coming with the clients, in order to teach these new communities on the Premium Inca Trail – Quillatambo Route to work the sheared wool into threads and dye it using natural pigments. Following this part the next lessons will be about weaving these threads into a variety of final artisan products: belts, scarfs, ponchos etc.

Alpaca trim

It is important that the animal doesn’t move during the shearing, so that it doesn’t get hurt.

This year the plan is to continue this project with donations of llama herds. These Andean Camelids not only produce wool but can also be used as baggage animals to accompany the trekking groups. This will make our newest trekking route more attractive and it will gradually become a source of permanent income for the local families. In this way Andina Travel, the local Cusco, Peru tour operator, commits to the triple-bottom-line of sustainable tourism outlined by Sustainable Travel International (Environmental Practices, Socio Cultural Practices, and Economic Practices).

Thank you very much to all of you, who with your vacation chioce make this project possible! 


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