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History

The following was taken from “What is a Paco-Vicuña?” by Phil Switzer

 
A Paco-Vicuña is a special alpaca that exhibits many of the phenotype traits of its ancestor the vicuña. Alpacas were domesticated from vicuña over the last 6000 years; today many of them exhibit vicuña traits. Father Don Julio Cabrera had a breeding program in the 1840’s where he attempted to breed the alpaca to the vicuña with some success, but in the long term the resultant animals were allowed to assimilate into the alpaca herds. The assimilation into the alpaca herds depreciated the vicuña traits and the animals eventually only exhibited alpaca traits. There have been many other attempts that have occurred into modern times with little apparent lasting success. The failure of these attempts was due to lack of funding and resolve in South America. However, many of these vicuña traits can be observed in the alpaca herds that exist on the altiplano today, with much of it due to more recent accidental hybridization.
 

The following was taken from “Paco-Vicuña New to the United States” by Phil Switzer
 
The excitement began in 1998 when Switzer-Land Farm started obtaining and collecting special alpacas that exhibit the phenotype traits of its ancient Andean ancestor the vicuña. We have carefully selected from the many alpaca import into the U.S., a few alpacas that have the evident vicuña phenotypic characteristics. We have also imported a small number of alpacas with paco-vicuña traits. By selective breeding we are able to accentuate the vicuña side of the equation. We have succeeded in identifying paco-vicuña that have very exceptional traits, preferred traits that are found in the vicuña such as super fine fiber, density, a front bib, minimal leg and head fiber. Also alpaca traits such as calm demeanor have been selected. This makes the paco-vicuña a distinct breed indeed. Criteria have been set up to define the amount of phenotypic traits achieved in order to gauge the animals quality level. The paco-vicuña project started out as an experiment and now the industry has its own registry, association, and community.
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