What are Llamas ??
- Llamas and their relatives are no strangers to our land. Llamas are members of the camelid family, which at one time thrived on the plains of North America. With the Ice Age, llamas became extinct in North America. Llamas migrated to South America and took up residence in the land of the Andean Mountains.
- In the highlands of Peru, some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, llamas were domesticated, placing them among the oldest domestic animals in the world. The llama was the lifeline of the Inca Indians of South America. Called their "silent brother" by the Incas, the llama was worshipped and highly regarded. The llama was their beast of burden, the source of clothing and a source of food as well as fuel.
- In the late 1800s and early 1900s, private animal collectors and zoos reintroduced llamas to their original North American homeland. Today there are an estimated seven million llamas and alpacas in South America (in approximately equal numbers) and some 80,000 to 100,000 llamas in the United States and Canada.
- Llamas started to become popular in the United States when an Oregon couple (Kay Sharpnack & her former husband Dick Patterson) decided to promote them as domestic livestock and made them available to the general public. Little was known at the time of the many functions that we would later find they served.