A Brief History of Alpacas

Alpacas have coexisted with humankind for thousands of years. The Incan civilization of the Andes Mountains in Peru elevated the alpaca to a central place in their society. The imperial Incas clothed themselves in garments made from alpaca and many of their religious ceremonies involved the animal. Museums throughout the Americas display textiles made from alpaca fiber.

The Spanish conquistadors failed to see the value of alpaca fiber, preferring the merino sheep of their native Spain. For a time, alpaca fiber was a well-kept secret. Beginning in the mid 1800's, alpaca was rediscovered by Sir Titus Salt of London, England.

The newly industrialized English textile industry was at its zenith when Sir Titus began studying the unique properties of alpaca fleece. He discovered, for instance, that alpaca fiber was stronger than sheep's wool and that its strength did not diminish with fineness of staple. The alpaca textiles he fashioned from the raw fleece were soft, lustrous, and they soon began making their mark across Europe. Today, the center of the alpaca textile industry is in Arequipa, Peru; yarn and other products made from alpaca are sold primarily in either Japan or Europe.

Outside of their native South America, the number of alpacas found in other countries is extremely limited. In fact, 99 percent of the world's approximately three million alpacas are found in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.

ALPACAS - The Earth-Friendly Farm Animal

Alpacas have been domesticated for more than 5,000 years. They are one of Mother Nature's favorite farm animals. They are sensitive to their environment in every respect. The following physical attributes allow alpacas to maintain their harmony with our Mother Earth.

The Alpaca Advantage

Alpaca Compounding

A major investment benefit of owning alpacas is based on the concept of compounding. Savings accounts earn interest, which if left in the account, adds to principal. The increased principal earns additional interest, thereby compounding the investor's return. Alpacas reproduce almost every year, and about one-half of their babies are females. When you retain the offspring in your herd, they begin producing babies. This is "Alpaca Compounding." Tax-deferred wealth building is another "Alpaca advantage." As your herd grows, you postpone paying income tax on its increasing value until such time as you begin selling the offspring.

The following graph illustrates how a herd might grow in size over a ten-year period, assuming you begin with five pregnant females and two males. The herd growth depicted represents alpaca compounding at work. The initial herd grows to 126 animals, assuming an 80% reproduction rate and a 50%male/50% female birth ratio. Not many investments appreciate at the same rate.

It should be noted that this graph, while clearly illustrating the principle of "Alpaca compounding," does not depict the average owners' approach to alpaca ownership. Most breeders elect to sell all or some of the annual offspring production for practical reasons, such as recovering their initial cash flow, acreage and building limitations, and time constraints.

If you would like more information, Please contact Pacific Crest Alpacas Accoyo America at alpacas@accoyoamerica.com.

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