The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna, formerly Lama vicugna) is a small, wild camelid, closely related to alpacas, llamas, and guanacos. It is found mainly at high altitudes (10,500 to 17,000 feet) in Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and Northwestern Argentina. The vicuna produces a fine, downy fleece that is valuable. The straight, silk-like wool is very rare. It is generally left undyed in its natural white or cream color due to its sensitivity to chemical treatment. Vicuñas have some of the finest fibers in the world, at a diameter of 12 μm. The fiber of cashmere goats is 14 to 19 μm, while angora rabbit is 8 to 12 μm and that of shahtoosh from the Tibetan antelope, or chiru, is from 9 to 12 μm. Since it is sensitive to chemical treatment, the wool is usually left in its natural color. In Peru, individual animals can only be shorn alive, once every three years. Vicuña is used for coats, suits, and soft shawls.
Synonyms and Related Terms
vicuna;Vicugna vicugna; Lama vicugna; vigogne (Fr.); vicua (Esp.)
Fiber length = 5 cm (2 inches)
Sources Checked for Data in Record
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