Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peru: Mallkini Alpaca Ranch

Mallkini Alpaca Ranch is located in the province of Puno, which for us was a long bus ride from Arequipa. The ranch has a guest house, and is remote. The elevation was about 15,000 feet and despite the altitude sickness pills, I felt easily short of breath with a quick 30 foot walk. The soft fleeced alpacas above are kept in front of the house, pictured below, for show. The majority of the animals are scattered over thousands of acres and looked after by shepherds. Mallkini is a breeding center, where animals are bred for color and low micron count (fineness of fiber) among other things. The dark brown animals, such as those seen below, are highly prized as they are fewer in number. This website has a nice discussion on breeding for fiber quality.

The herd seen at left is a prized one, that we drove several miles to view one morning. At left is a mama and baby.
The ranch house is pictured below. There was a lovely fireplace to keep warm around after dinner, while

sipping wine or mate de coca tea.

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