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Photographer's Note

This is the second photo from the series that I will publish here in the next few days. I know it is not a typical TE photos, but I think it is important to increase the public awareness to species that are close to extinction.

Vicuna is a rare wild animal from the Llama family. It has probably the finest (about 12 microns in diameter) and most expensive wool in the world, but still, cant be domesticated. Thats why raw wool from Vicuna has been legally auctioned at $500 per kg while average vicuna fleece provides only 0.2 kg. If you compare those prices to the best replacement of Vicuna wool which is fine Alpaca wool, it cost around $15 per kg, but the wool is twice thicker.

The vicuna lives in the altiplano highlands of Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina in altitude above 4000 meters.

Many people used to kill those beautiful creatures because of the valuable wool, and in the 70s the situation was very close to a point of extinction. The governments of those countries declared the Vicuna as a protected animal, and set special regulations of how to be able to take the wool without killing the poor animal.

The Vicunas are very shy, and it is not easy to get that close to them. I had to move very slowly, and to hide behind some bushes. In some stage they saw me, but because I didnt move they didnt run away, and looked at my direction from curiosity. :-)

The photo was taken in Park Lauca which is located in north of Chile. This park border with Bolivia and not too far from Peru, so if you travel in this region, it is highly recommended to visit this park. It is not packed with tourists and has one of the best natural scenes I ever saw.


PS: The photo was not cropped. I just adjusted the contrast.

feather, rbcy1974, alejandroguzman, devimeuxbe has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Alon Schreibman (alon) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 199 W: 20 N: 227] (1289)
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