Alpacas are a member of the Camelid family that originated in South America. They are descended from Vicunas, and can weigh anywhere between 110 to 190 lbs. Their babies are called Crias and the gestation period is about 11.5 months! The Alpaca does not exist in the wild. They are a domesticated animal that has been used for their fiber, meat production and as pack animals for thousands of years in South America. There are now Alpaca farms all over the world except in Antartica! The hardiness required to survive the extreme climates of the Andes where they originated makes them adaptable to essentially any climate in the world.
Alpacas are extremely efficient grazers and require less supplemental food and nutrition than sheep, making less impact per pound of produced fiber, than sheep. This, along with the properties and luster of it’s fiber has made it very popular in recent years for both farmers and the fashion industry.