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  • The animal of Guanaco belongs to cloven-hoofed mammals of the llamas genus from camelids family and is a progenitor of the tamed llama. The Spanish geographer and historian Cieza de Leon wrote the first description of Guanaco in 1553 in “The Chronicles of Peru”.

    Guanaco has a long and thin neck, long legs that are typical for all camelids. Adults’ height till shoulders is 90-130 cm, the length of body is 120-175 cm, tail reaches 15-25 cm and weight limits are 90 – 140 kg (the smallest representatives were discovered in the northern Peru, and the largest ones – in the south of Chile). Guanaco head is relatively small and rounded, the ears are small and straight, neck skin is solid, face is gray and resembles a camel.

    Colors of heavy wool vary from light brown shades to dark cinnamon coat pattern; chest, belly and internal parts of legs are white.

    Guanacos’ habitat is rather wide: from the south of Peru till Tierra del Fuego. These animals can be met at the altitude of 4500 m. They prefer open arid and semi-arid hilly areas, but it possibly meet them as at mountains, the same as at Peru rain forests.

    Guanaco are herbivores animals. Their favorite nutriment are two kinds of bush (Mulinum spinosum and Colletia spinosissima) in the foothills of the Andes, but also they eat different herbs, lichens, mushrooms, cactuses, fruits and flowers.

    These animals are divided into groups, each one consists of females, young stock and dominant buck. Young bucks form a separate herd up to 50 individuals, but females herds are less, up to 10 adults. The herd’s territory depends on the region and is protected from other representatives of the genus, but in difficult times Guanaco form a mixed herds up to 500 heads; they migrate in searching a food.

    The buck informs about a danger by sharp whistle, at this moment a herd is running often with a speed about of 56 km/hr even on rough terrain. Usually a dominant male runs behind to defense the herd. Guanaco swim well, during self-protection spit actively by a mixture of nasal mucus and saliva.

    Puma is the only predator who attacks a guanaco.

    The mating is going on in family groups from December to January. Usually the offspring is delivered in November – December. Gestation period of Guanaco lasts for 11 months. Very often, a one calf is delivered; its weight is equal to about 10% of mother’s weight. Two kids can appear sometimes, but only one of them survives. A calf can stand up after 5 minutes at birth, but on average, it gets up after a half an hour, starts to graze after a few weeks and it becomes separate after 8 months.

    The species of Guanaco is protected by the state in Peru and Chile, because there they hunt for meat, leather and valuable wool of Guanaco.