Posted by: Ali | May 5, 2010

Salinas and Aguada Blanca

The Salinas and Aguada Blanca Wildlife Reserve is just outside of Arequipa and doesn’t exactly have a name that rolls off the tongue.  It’s an animal reserve that is located between 3,500 and 6,000 meters above sea level, which really begs the question: why would animals want to live there in the first place?  It’s mostly full of llamas and other furry beasts, but there are a lot of ducks and apparently even flamingos that live there.  Don’t the ducks freeze their little toes off?  Apparently it gets down to -15 degrees at night.

Anyways it sure was full of cute fuzzies, although unfortunately most of the time we drove by something too fast to get a good picture, or when we stopped and stepped outside for photography all the animals would run away (who would have thought?)

Most of what we saw were the camelids.  In the Andes there are four varieties: llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guanucos.  I can never tell the difference between llamas and alpacas, and sometimes there are even hybrids, but I will try to identify them in my photos.  Vicunas are the cutest things ever; they also have the softest wool.  One vicuna creates about 50 grams of wool per year, so the current market price for vicuna wool is $500 per kilo.  A scarf might cost you $1000 while a sweater of vicuna wool could cost you $5000 or more.  The last kind is the guanuco, which is endangered and elusive, so I didn’t see any of them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In other news alpaca meat is tasty and cholesterol-free!


%d bloggers like this: