Inca Trails to Machu PicchuDevotion

Quecha Girl and Her Llama


Devotion of girl to her llama
Photograph of a Quechua girl and her llama in the Andes Mountains in Peru demonstrating her devotion to caring for her animal.  Llamas (Lama glama) are members of the camel family and have been domesticated in South America for thousands of years.  They are commonly used as a pack animal in the Andes similar to the use of donkeys in the Old World.  In addition, they are eaten and their meat is considered a delicacy by some people. Surprisingly, fossil evidence suggests that the Llama did not originate in South America, rather in North America.  After migrating to South America about three million years ago, llamas became extinct in North America about the end of the last ice age at about the time that Man migrated to North America.  In fact, some archaeologists believe that the Paleo-Indians were responsible for their extinction in North America.  In any case, currently there are an estimated seven million llamas and alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in South America.  Alpacas differ from llamas in being much smaller in size and are not used as a pack animal rather they were bred for their fiber which is used in textiles.  The wild ancestor of the llama is believed to be the Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) which is still found wild in the higher elevations of the Andes Mountains.   

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Photograph © Copyright Chuck Clark, all rights reserved, Devotion Girl Llama