Chapter Twelve: Handling and Restraint of South American Camelids
AffiliationUniversity of Chester; University Centre Hartpury
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AbstractMembers of the camelid family evolved to live in arid and mountainous areas. This chapter will focus on what are known as the New World species of camelid, whose habitat mainly covers the Andes regions of South America. Four camelids can be found in South America, namely: Guanacos (Lama guanicoe), vicunas (Lama vicugna), llamas (Lama guanicoe glama) and alpacas (Vicugna pacos). The two wild forms, the guanaco and the vicuna diverged from a common ancestor approximately two million years ago; an event unrelated to domestication. Due to hybridisation the exact process of domestication has been controversial; however, recent genetic analysis has suggested that the alpaca is the domesticated form of the vicuna and the llama is the domesticated form of the guanaco (Kadwell et al. 2001). Domestication is thought to have taken place some 6000 years ago (Wheeler, 1995) when a predominant herding economy based on llama and alpaca was established at Telarmachay (a region of the Peruvian Andes). Archaeological evidence suggests that both llamas and alpacas were part of a sacrificial rite in South American culture and were key to the expansion of the Inca Empire some 500 years ago (Bonacic, 2011). Physically (apart from size) there is little difference between the llama and alpaca, which is a result of deliberate hybridisation between the two species over the past 35 years. Whilst the alpaca and llama still play an important role in their countries of origin, they are also viewed worldwide as: pets, exotic animals, livestock, zoo animals and wild animals.
CitationMcLennan, K. M., and Chapman, S. J. (2018). Chapter Twelve: Handling and Restraint of South American Camelids. In: Chapman, S. J. (ed.), Safe Handling and Restraint of Animals: A Comprehensive Guide. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
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