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The Amazing New Adventures of Larry and Mark - Peru, Land of the Incas

Chapter 13

 Llamas, guanacos, vicuņas - oh my!

  We left Cusco again the next morning, heading to the Sacred Valley.

We don't know what to expect, except that every day we'll see lots of

new things.  We stop at an overlook just outside (and 500 feet above)

Cusco and there's another llama with her costumed pet human.

 

 Everywhere we have seen llama wall posters, like the one below

which shows many members (living and extinct) of the camelids,

which include llama, alpaca, vicuņa, and guanaco.  Change the

proportions, and you would see a camel (its cousin in Africa and Asia.)

 

 On the bus, I spot this unusual land formation, and ask Willow, our guide

what this is.  We are in the town of Corao, which, in 1986, was the

epicenter for a major earthquake.  The slid fault line is very visible here - both

horizontal and vertical. 

 

  Many of the hills have lines which are so regular, one might think that

these had been terraces, built by hand.  Actually, these were formed by

erosion, which caused mud to build up in lines, which subsequently hardened.

 

 We have arrived at Awana Kancha - a living museum of Andean animal life and

Andean art.  We are in for a treat.  Awana Kancha is a "living museum."  Think of a

cross between the Andes, Old Sturbridge Village, and a zoo.

  

 Detail from the above picture.

 

 We get to see - and feed - many different varieties of camelid. 

 

 Here, Mark's on two llamas - or they're onto him!

 

 Don't they look warm? 

I admit I have to say this.  They are also delicious!

They are cuter, and taste a lot better than cui (guinea pig!)

 

 Guys - give my wife some room!

 

Wouldn't you like to take one of these home?

 

 Didn't you always wonder where spaghetti came from?

The right side is plain, the left is whole-hair.

 

 The vicuņa dwells on the high Andean slopes.  It is prized for its extremely fine wool, which can be

harvested only once every three years. Products of the wool are very soft, very warm.   In order to

prevent poaching there is a round up every year, and all vicuņas with fur longer than 2.5 cm are shorn.

 

 Both under the rule of the Inca and today, vicuņas have been protected by law. Before being declared

endangered in 1974, only about 6,000 animals were left. Today, the vicuņa population has recovered

to about 125,000, and while conservation organizations have reduced its level of threat, they still

call for active conservation programs to protect population levels from poaching, habitat loss, and other threats.

 

 The guanaco is another mountain-dwelling camelid.  I couldn't get any closer to them than

my telephoto lens allowed way up on the side of the slope adjacent to the pens. 

 

 Whether you speak Spanish or not, I think you'd enjoy opening this

link to a small video of Awana Kancha:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u6X571oZco 

 

More soon!

 Larry Reich

You may reach me with comments:  auburndocreich@aol.com 

 

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