Alpacas were a cherished treasure of the ancient Incan civilization and played a central role in the Inc. culture that was located on the high Andean Plateau and mountains of South America. Alpacas are now being successfully raised and enjoyed throughout Australia, NewZealand and abroad.
There are two types of alpacas -the Huacaya and the Suri. The lifespan of the alpaca is about 20 years and gestation is 11.5 months. Alpacas eat grasses and chew a cud. Adult alpacas are about 36″ tall at the withers and generally weigh between 100 — 200 pounds.
Alpacas produce one of the world’s finest and most luxurious natural fibres. It is clippes from the animal without causing it injury. Soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool, it comes in more colors than any other fibre producing animal. (approximately 22 basic colors with many variations and blends). This cashmere-like fleece, once reserved for Incan royalty, is now enjoyed by many people around the world.
Alpaca fibre Synthesis of a Miracle
The temperature in the Andes, at 4,500 metres above sea level, is extremely changeable: from 18 to 20 degrees centigrade below zero, during the night. The temperature can reach 15 to 18 degrees above zero in the morning. The solar radiation intensity, the rarified atmosphere and icy cold wind are also some of the difficult conditions that prevail in these high places.
To survive in this rough enviroment, alpacas are provided with a very special protection. Throughout the centuries, these species have developed a very fine and light fleece, it does not retain water and can resist the solar radiation effectively. The alpaca fibre contains also microscopic airbags that make possible manufacture of light and warm bedding products.
Alpaca fleece is rapidly moving to the top of an elite group known as SPECIALTY FIBRES. Admission to this select circle requires that a fibre be rare and extremely fine. Alpaca fibre easily meets both of these demanding standards.
To touch and then to feel alpaca products inspires superlatives, i.e., “stronger than mohair…” “finer than cashmere…” “smoother than silk…” “softer than cotton…” “warmer than goose down or the new synthetic fabrics like Gortex,” and “breathes better than thermal knits.” And the really exciting part of these enthusiastic endorsements is that they are all true.