It’s a nice animal, on short legs, more likely a sheep with a long neck. However, be surprised! The nearest more or less famous alpaca’s relative is a camel!
It’s still a question when the history of alpaca as a domestic animal was started. Scientists assume that it was before Incas civilization. Incas have bred alpaca for about 500 years. One of the key value of breeding alpaca was, of course, it’s wool.
Alpaca’s natural and original area is a highlands of Andes mountains, with an altitude 3800+ meters (12 500+ ft) above the sea. And this animal accommodates to the temperatures up to -20 C (-4 F) at night and +30 (86 F) during the day. So about 80% of alpacas inhabit the territory of Peru and about 15% of Bolivia.
Alpacas don’t present in wildlife and nowadays they are 100% domestic animals, with a very good manners. They are cared about their private space and never used the same area for eating and wasting products.
There are two types of alpaca – Huacaya and Suri. Among all population, there is only 15% of Suri alpaca, that’s why its wool has a higher price.
For the quality and properties, a fiber from alpaca wool is on the same level with Cashmere and on a higher level than Mohair. The secret treasure of Peruvian Andes was introduced internationally only in 1980th. Later on, several alpaca’s farms were initiated in US, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
In 2005 Alpaca was introduced as a Flagman Product of Peru.