The History of Llamas

History Of Llamas

Llamas are members of the South American Camelid (SAC) family which are all classified under the genus of Lama (single "L"). Species within the Lama genus are Vicuna, Guanaco, Alpaca and Llama (double "LL"). All species within the Lama genus can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. It is believed the llamas were domesticated from wild guanacos from the Andean Highlands of Peru about six thousand years ago.

While primarily used as a beast of burden for native herdsman, llamas also provided them with meat, wool, hides for shelter, manure pellets for fuel and were also used as sacrificial offerings to their gods. Today there are an estimated seven million llamas in South America.

New Zealand History

Llamas originate from South America, where they have been domesticated for over 6,000 years.  The first llamas reached New Zealand in 1865 imported by Bernard Rhodes.  They were next introduced to Auckland Zoo in 1933 from Australia’s Taronga Park Zoo.  In 1986 another 3 llamas arrived from an English Zoo and in 1988 200 llamas arrived by boat from Peru, which were later on sold, some stayed in New Zealand and others went to Australia.  Today there are in excess of 1500 llamas in NZ, owned and bred by people like ourselves who have fallen in love with these gentle wonderful creatures and feel very privileged to be able to do so. 

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