Ancient vicuna wool shearing tradition lives on in Peruvian Andes

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Ancient vicuna wool shearing tradition lives on in Peruvian Andes
Ancient vicuna wool shearing tradition lives on in Peruvian Andes148 km from the city of Puno, in southern Peru, on August 25, 2021. (Photo by Carlos MAMANI / AFP)

At dawn on a freezing bloodless day excessive in the Andes, dozens of Peruvian peasants clamber up a mountainside to elevate out a centuries-old subculture of shearing the highly-prized wool off vicunas, which are spouse and children of the llama.

Ancient vicuna wool shearing tradition lives on in Peruvian Andes

One week each year, the peasants of Totoroma, a village 50 kilometers (30 kilometers) to the southwest of Lake Titicaca, be a part of forces for a technique of herding and shearing recognised regionally as the “chaccu”.

They trudge up the mountainside and herd round five hundred vicunas again down the slope into a pen made of posts and three-meter excessive mesh — a essential precaution to hold the agile individuals of the camelid household from escaping.

The comuneros — guys and women, some even carrying teens — wrap up towards the bloodless and put on wide-brimmed hats to defend them from the sun.

This year, they’re additionally sporting face masks to guard in opposition to Covid-19.

“It’s an ancestral pastime that has been going on in view that time immemorial and now we’re supporting out as a public nation administration,” vet Jaime Figueroa informed AFP.

Jesus Pilco Mamani is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfathers.

“I began working as a comunero in 1986,” he advised AFP.

The vicuna seems on Peru’s countrywide coat of hands and there are an estimated 200,000 of the Andean camelid in the country.

The annual chaccu helps aid households in 290 communities in the Peruvian Andes.

Vicuna wool is highly-prized for its gentle characteristics and is one of the most steeply-priced in the world.

The vicunas stay at least 3,500 meters above sea stage so getting their wool — via rounding up and shearing them — is a challenging task.

The communities in the Peruvian Andes produce round 10 lots of vicuna wool a year.

Unlike llamas and alpacas, amongst Andean camelids, vicunas and guanacos have no longer been domesticated.

Alpaca wool is some distance extra common, whilst llama wool can be used to make rugs and carpets however is viewed too hard for clothing.

Guanaco wool is additionally highly-prized, even though now not as smooth as vicuna.

Inside the pen, the comuneros preserve every brown vicuna down on a blanket on the floor whilst an professional rapidly shears them the use of a computing device powered by using a transportable generator.

The wool of every vicuna is gathered and placed inner person plastic bags.

Once shorn, the vicuna is without delay launched from the pen and runs at pinnacle velocity again up the mountain.

A kilogramme of unprocessed vicuna wool sells for US$400 (RM1,6678) — a lot greater than alpaca wool.

But a single sheared alpaca produces three kilogrammes of wool, in contrast to “150 to a hundred and eighty grammes” from the a good deal smaller vicuna, Erick Lleque Quisoe, an legitimate in the regional Puno government, instructed AFP.

He stated that in Totoroma the locals “took off 35-40 kilogrammes” of wool from the five hundred vicunas.

In 2019, Peru made US$3 million exporting seven lots of vicuna wool, whereas alpaca exports deliver in round US$300 million, in accordance to legit figures. — ETX Studio

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