Camelids from the Argentine Puna: conservation and uses.
In this chapter we present issues related to the abundance, conservation, management, production and sanitary aspects of the South American camelids that live in the Argentine Puna, mainly vicunas and llamas. The provinces that have more camelids are Jujuy (43% of vicunas and 70% of llamas) and Catamarca (31% of vicunas and 17% of lamas). Vicunas are wild while the lamas are domestic, involving great management differences. Vicunas can be live captured and shorn through a technique called chaku. Currently, 1,200 kilograms of vicuña fiber are obtained annually from live shorn animals. Argentine llamas have their own characteristics and are used for their fiber and meat. The annual production of llama fiber is approximately 30.000 kilograms. Both species have an annual breeding in the summer with a gestation period of almost a year, and are mainly grazers. The risks for vicuna conservation include poaching, lack of animal welfare techniques in handling, and break of Article 1 of the Vicuna Convention. The risk management for lamas is related to the conditions of inequality and lack of marketing strategies and support for the Punean local producers.