DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Fauna:  CAMELIDS AND DEER  
 

Llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas are four animals native to South America that belong to the Camel Family (Camelidae), which are collectively referred to as "camelids".  In addition, there are native deer in the Southern Cordillera, including the threatened huemules and pudus.

 

The Llama (pronounced yama, Lama glama) needs little introduction, being now raised widely in North America and other parts of the world.  In South America it is used as a pack animal, although much less now than historically, as well as for meat and fiber. Click to see big picture (599x480 pixels; 133 KB)
The other domesticated camelid is the smaller and woollier Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) which is raised almost entirely for its superior wool, here been sheared.  Alpacas and llamas were traditionally raised in Peru, Bolivia and northern Chile.  Other authorities call this Lama pacos. Click to see big picture (640x423 pixels; 127 KB)
But the wildlife is more appealing.  The larger of the two wild camelids is the Guanaco (Lama guanicoe), which looks like a shorter haired version of a llama.  They spit, and this one looks about to. Click to see big picture (616x480 pixels; 143 KB)
Guanaco (also written Huanaco) live in a variety of habitats, including the sub-alpine.  Protected (yet hunted), their main natural predator is the puma. Click to see big picture (558x480 pixels; 137 KB)
In the open grasslands of southern Argentina, Guanaco can form into sizeable herds. Click to see big picture (640x435 pixels; 100 KB)
In this case, the herds are chewing through what is supposed to be the winter range of a sheep herd, which at this time is in their summer pasture at altitude.  Such practices have made the guanaco less that popular and less than protected. Click to see big picture (640x361 pixels; 101 KB)
Behold the Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) in its typical alpine habitat.  Staying this high helps defend against its natural predator the puma, but it is an open shot for humans, who despite legal protection hunt it for both meat and its very fine fleece. Click to see big picture (489x480 pixels; 96 KB)
Vicuña mothers fleeing with their young. Click to see big picture (640x424 pixels; 65 KB)
A small group of Vicuña in their typical barren surroundings above almost all vegetation in the Andes of San Juan Prov., Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x425 pixels; 128 KB)
Heading toward Lago Chungara on the Chile-Bolivia border, these Vicuña are at least in an area of water and food. Click to see big picture (640x477 pixels; 148 KB)
This young Vicuña was raised at a remote mine site in Argentina, and has proved of nasty disposition.  It is presently eyeing my jeans which it promptly tried to eat with myself inside. Click to see big picture (399x480 pixels; 76 KB)
This is a decoy hunting blind for vicuñas, used by Inca and later hunters.  On a ridge, the rock ears attract males in mating season, thinking it is another vicuña. vicuna blind
And this stone "alter" in the remains of a nearby incan pen is thought to be where vicuñas were sacrificed in thanks. sacrifice stone
Huemul Andina or Taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis).  Despite having a hippo and a camel in its genus name, this unusual creature is now classified as a deer. Click to see big picture (640x466 pixels; 78 KB)
A rare encounter with a Taruca in the Famatima Range of La Rioja Prov., Argentina, provided these photos.  It is known to range from here north to Ecuador. Click to see big picture (485x480 pixels; 75 KB)
The Taruca is a very endangered species.  Although protected, it is widely hunted. Click to see big picture (640x381 pixels; 102 KB)
Another sighting, this time from a high elevation the the Chila Range of southern Peru. taruca
Another rare deer, from the cold jungles of southern Chile, the Pudu (Pudu puda).  Secretive in the wild, this is a lucky photo at dawn on a beach near Rio Zorro in southwestern Isla Chiloe. pudu
Switching to the foothills of Peru, a Grey Brocket Deer, known as Venado Cenizo (Mazama gouazoubira).  Click to see big picture (455x480 pixels; 119 KB)
Although less endangered, deer everywhere are hunted for food.  Most remaining populations are hiding in the jungles on the Amazon side of the northern ranges. Click to see big picture (496x480 pixels; 130 KB)
Gutting a pregnant deer in eastern Bolivia.  In newly opened areas, logging companies expected their worker to hunt most of their own food. Click to see big picture (610x480 pixels; 106 KB)