Are There Llamas In..?

A llama is a domesticated animal mostly found in the Andes in South America. It is a camelid that has been used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. Since forever people have been highly valuing it for its soft woolly fleece.

It is estimated that there are around 7 million llamas and alpacas in South America. Out of those 7 million, around 5 million are llamas. 

The greatest percentage of those llamas (around 60%) are found in Bolivia. 

But what about other countries? Or even continents? Are there llamas in Mexico? Or in Africa? Perhaps in Australia or USA?

This is why we are here today. In this article, we will explain if there are llamas in 12 different countries and continents.

are there llamas in

Are There Llamas In Mexico?

Llamas are not native to Mexico. Llamas originated in North America and moved to South America some 3 million years ago. Today, a small population of llamas can be found in Mexico, but their number is not significant.

Nonetheless, llamas are very popular there; people consider them celebrities.

According to International Llama Registry, there are only several registered farms and individuals that own llamas in Mexico.

That number is of course higher in reality, as many llama owners do not enlist their llamas.

How Much Does A Llama Cost In Mexico?

Because there aren’t many, lamas are highly valued in Mexico. That’s why one llama in Mexico City might cost you around $1,100. Considering how useful these animals are, they are certainly worth that price.

Are There Llamas In Peru?

Llamas come from Peru. They were particularly important there during the Incan Empire. In that period, they were used as pack animals to carry items and goods across the Andes. Peruvian people also used their milk, meat, and hair for food and clothing. They were also often sacrificed in large numbers to the gods.

Today, llamas can be found in Peru, and their numbers there are significant. After Bolivia, Peru has the largest population of llamas. There are around 750,000 llamas in Peru. 

The largest population of llamas in Peru is found in the Puno region with around 350,000 animals. Most of the llamas in Peru have white (30%) and brown coats (25%).

Sadly, since 1994, the llama population in Peru has significantly decreased (by around 300,000 animals).

Read more: Are llamas endangered species?

There are two breeds of llamas in Peru, Kara (80% of the total Peruvian llama population) and Chaku breed (20%). In both of these breeds, males weigh around 200 lbs (90 kg) and females weigh a bit less, around 190 lbs (85 kg).

The Kara (Q’ara) is a light-wool type with a long and slim body and has lower quality fiber, but it possesses a greater aptitude for meat production. The heavy-wool type, Chaku (Ch’aku), has a shorter body but has a higher potential for fiber production.

Llamas are an essential cornerstone in the livelihoods of about 95,000 families living in extreme poverty in the Peruvian Andes.

And since the Inkas, llamas have been the main star of Peru.

Are There Llamas In Machu Picchu?

llama in machu picchu

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a 2,430-meter (7,970 ft) mountain ridge.

At Machu Picchu, there are llamas everywhere. They are not dangerous, but rather friendly. They are used to lots of people that visit the location.

According to local tour guides, the best time to see and take a photo of Machu Picchu llamas is early in the morning when they are coming out to eat. Llamas will usually walk along the trails and you can make awesome photos with them.

Are There Llamas In Ecuador?

Llamas can be found in Ecuador, although their population numbers are not very high there. Llama races are very popular in Ecuador, where children ride their prized animals in 500-meter races.

The race takes place in February, between the wetlands at altitudes nearing 15,000 feet (4,500 m). It is known as “Llamingada” and takes place every year in Llanganates National Park.

Are There Llamas In Chile?

Llamas can be also found in Chile. Their population there is not particularly high; there are around 70,000 llamas. In Chile, llamas mostly live in the high plane, in the regions of Tarapacá and Antofagasta, at heights between 7,500-13,000 ft (2,300-4,000 m).

A llama in Chile is worth between $175 and $1,000. Females are around $200 and males are around $190.

There are two breeds of llamas in Chile, Lutica (around 60% of their total llama population), called Kara or Kcara in Peru and Bolivia, and the Tajulli breed, called Tampully in Bolivia and Chaku in Peru.

The Kara breed in Chile is slightly lighter on average than the one from Peru: males weigh 175 lbs (85 kg) and females 165 lbs (70 kg).

Most of the Chilean llamas are of the mixed color (approx. 70%); the rest are white and brown.

llamas in peru

Are There Llamas In Colombia?

Llamas can be also found In Colombia, although they do not have a huge population there. Back in history, the Inca used llamas to move their imperial pack trains into southern Colombia.

A llama in Colombia is worth between $630 and $2,500, depending on the age and sex.

Are There Llamas In Guatemala?

An extremely small number of llamas can be found in Guatemala. Compared to other countries, that number is insignificant. If you are in Guatemala, Chiabal in Huehuetenango is the destination where you can find llamas and alpacas. In this tourist village, there are around 10-20 llamas.

The similarities between the Andes and the mountains of Huehuetenango have allowed a group of llamas to inhabit and survive there in Guatemala.

Are There Llamas In Argentina?

In Argentina, around 90% of llama breeders are small peasants that possess a flock of around 80 animals, and simultaneously raise sheep and in some cases goats and cattle. Llamas can be found in Argentina as there are around 75,000 of these animals there.

The largest populations are found in the Jujuy (67%), followed by Catamarca (16%) and Salta (11%). 

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture from 2014 to 2019, the production of Argentine llama fiber increased 382% (from 25,600 to 123,000 kg). Most of it is exported as combed fiber.

The native peoples of the Argentine Puna used llamas for thousands of years and considered them sacred animals.

A llama in Argentina is worth between $500 and $1,150. As a comparison, an alpaca can cost there around $4,500.

Are There Llamas In Africa?

Llamas mostly live in South America, you will not find many in Africa. A llama’s cousin, the camel lives in Africa.

In UAE, on Sir Bani Yas Island, there are currently several llamas on a private farm. Other than small groups of individual llama owners, there are no large populations of llamas in Africa.

Another animal with a long neck just like a llama (much longer, of course), a giraffe, lives in Africa.

Further reading: Why Does A Llama Have A Long Neck?

Are There Llamas In Australia?

In Australia, llamas and alpacas are mostly farmed for their meat and leather. There are around a couple of thousand llamas there (4,000 or so). Australian people have seen the worth of llamas and their numbers have been increasing there.

Llamas in Australia are worth between $2,000 and $10,500.

Are There Llamas In New Zealand?

In New Zealand, just like in Australia, there are over a thousand llamas (around 1,500). They are classified there as a rare breed because there are so few of them. 

Llamas were imported to New Zealand from Chile and both llamas and alpacas adapted well to New Zealand conditions. Most llamas in NZ can be found on small hobby or lifestyle farms.

Are There Llamas In The US?

There are around 40,000 llamas in the US. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, their numbers dropped by 100,000 since 2002.

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

There are over 30,000 registered llama owners in the country, most of them in Oregon, California, and Texas. 

The highest ever price for a llama in the USA was $220,000 back in 1986. In recent years, the highest price was around $20,000.

Final Thoughts

This concludes our article going over the main locations llamas can be found. Here we explained where llamas are mostly found in South America but also in other parts of the world.

Want to read more about cousins of llamas? Read this article.

References

[1] Cristofanelli, S., et al. “Meat and carcass quality from Peruvian llama (Lama glama) and alpaca (Lama pacos).” Meat science 66.3 (2004): 589-593.

[2] Cristofanelli, S., et al. “Carcass characteristics of Peruvian llama (Lama glama) and alpaca (Lama pacos) reared in the Andean highlands.” Small Ruminant Research 58.3 (2005): 219-222.

[3] Wurzinger, Maria, and Gustavo Gutierrez. “Analysis of a multi-stakeholder process during the start-up phase of two community-based llama breeding programs in Peru.” Livest. Res. Rural Dev 29.10 (2017): 2020.

[4] Paredes, Gabriela F., et al. “Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Llamas (Lama glama) from the Camelid Germplasm Bank—Quimsachata.” Genes 11.5 (2020): 541.

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