... are members of the Lama (with one `l') or 'Camelid'
Llamas have been South America's best
kept secret for 3000 years! Until now...
In Peru, from the times of the great
Incas, the llama has been treasured as "total provider..."
The llama's luxurious fibre would be knitted into garments and rugs which
would be carried to market on the llama's back. At the market the llama
would sit patiently and, goods sold, might then give the owner a ride
home! Home could easily be a tent made from llama skins. Wearing llama
garments, sitting on llama rugs, tribes people would cook their food
(only rarely being llama meat) on fires fuelled by dried llama dung...
Festivals & holidays
are to this day still
dressing up occasions for the llamas as well as for the local population.
Llamas would be important participants in parades, adorned with
colourful decorations made from their wool.
Llamas are also found in Chile, Bolivia
and Argentina. They truly have been South America's best kept secret for
several millenia. It is hard to believe that in the 20th Century (as it
was), such a useful and interesting animal could be so little known and
misunderstood outside of the region that had elevated it to the
status of the prized animal of the Incas - an animal
of the Gods!
Indeed it was not until the end of the
last century that a few specimens were imported into UK zoos, and even
then the many uses and value of llamas was completely missed,
although a few gelding males were taught to pull carts to give rides for
It was not until the mid to late
1980's that more serious interest was awakened in the
UK when a few innovative
individuals began to look for opportunities to diversify from
traditional farm livestock.