Are Llamas Endangered? Population Status

Few animals catch attention like llamas. They are friendly, gracious, with prominent eyes, and warm gazes. 

Llamas can carry a heavy load, their meat is nutritious, milk is tasty, the wool is warm – a great combination to be hunted down, have their conservation status get into the red zone, and become endangered. 

In the last 100 years, the number of animals has greatly been reduced There are over 5,000 animal species under the threat of becoming extinct right now.

Are llamas endangered, you might ask?

In this article, we will look into the llama conservation status, the latest population report, and the endangered status for some of their cousins.

are llamas endangered

Are Llamas Endangered?

Llamas are domesticated animals which means that they do not have conservation status and are not considered endangered. 

The world’s most authoritative listing of conservation status is the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (“IUCN”) Red List of Endangered Species. 

Llama is not found on that list and their populations are not thought to be in danger of getting extinct.

How Many Llamas Are There?

Llamas are quite widespread animals today. According to FAOstat (2019), there are about 5 million llamas in South America alone. 

The largest population of llamas is found in Bolivia with over 3 million animals. The second is Peru, the place where llamas originated. There are around 750,000 llamas there.

Llamas can be also found in Argentina and Chile, with each country estimated to have around 75,000 of these animals.

Llama Numbers Are Going Down.. In the USA

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report from 2017, there are about 40,000 llamas in the USA. However, their numbers have been seriously dropping.

In 2002, there were around 145,000 in the US.

5 years later, in 2007, there were about 20,000 of these animals less. In 2012 came a bigger drop, going from 123,000 to 76,000. 

Finally, 2017 was rock bottom, with only 39,599 llamas.

decreasing population in the usa
*per US Census of Agriculture (2017)

The main reason for such decline is the silent crash of the llama market, loss of interest in these animals, and the real estate crisis in 2007. People stopped investing in the industry, lost interest in llamas, and there was no big market for their meat or their fiber.

Most of the registered llama owners today, can be found in Oregon, California, and Texas. 

Llamas have also been disappearing from Peru too. From 1994 until 2012, the population of llamas decreased by around 300,000 of these animals there.

The main reason is the intense selection of the white-coated alpacas, which lead to the decrease of colored (non-white) llamas.

Are Llama Cousins Going Extinct?

llamas cousin vicuna
Vicuna

Llamas are not endangered, but their cousin, the wild vicuna, once was close to disappearing.

In 1974, there were less than 6,000 of these animals. Thanks to conservation measures, ban on the trade of its fleece, their numbers increased to around 340,000 in 2015. 

The vicuna is now considered “least concern” with the population increasing.

Final Thoughts

This concludes our article on the question: are llamas endangered.

Llamas are not endangered animals and are not extinct. According to the latest reports, there are over 5 million llamas in South America, with the largest population found in Bolivia.

With their populations decreasing in some countries, llamas might become endangered in the close future.

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