Vicuña under threat from climate change and rising wool prices

21 January 2016

Climate change puts some of the world’s most expensive luxury fabrics at risk.

The vicuña, a relative of the llama, is one of two wild South American camelids living in the puna (grassland) eco-region of the central Andes. Its fine, exceptionally warm wool is prized in the fashion industry. The animals are shorn only once every three years.

In 1974 it was designated as an endangered species when the population had dwindled to around 6,000. By 2009, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the vicuña’s level of threat had been reduced, with the population grown to around 350,000.

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