The guanaco is a camelids (Lama Guanicos), lives from the Andes of Chile to the Terra del Fuoco and was described by Darwin in 1833. Unlike their cousins vicuna, alpaca, Llama, which live only in the highlands from 2500 m up, the Guanaco lives well from sea level up to 4000 Mt . It is slightly ‘larger than the vicuna and is quite similar, although somewhat less slender and elegant, with a long neck, dark muzzle and ears, big eyes like cakes, is one meter high at the shoulder and weigh 80-100 kg. They are meek, easily domesticated and are extremely curious. For many years it has been a vital resource for the inhabitants of the desolate Patagonia, at the end of 1800 there were 3,000 head herd and the population was hundreds of thousands of animals in South America.
Unfortunately in this century with the spread of farms their decline has been rapid because the small chulengos were decimated by hunters for their smooth and soft skins, used mostly for fur and bedspreads. Many die trapped in fences that surround the sheep pastures and the movement of flocks in search of new pastures was difficult. Like the vicuna every adult male has a harem of females and baby guanacos . This group is usually accompanied by secondary groups of young adults expelled from the original family at 12-15 months and the mature females at 24 months,give birth a little after 11 months. Their territory is marked by dung deposits.
The mantle is dark fawn on the back and lighter becoming cream coloured on the chest and abdomen with large fringes of long lighter hair on the sides , particularly evident in males. The undercoat is fine (13-14my almost like vicuna) of 25-45 mm in length covered with a light coat of hair offering more protection. A sheared fleece weighs about 150 grams.
The hair should be washed and dehaired and the yield is about 60%. This animal is reared in conditions of semicaptivity in the Chilean National Park of Torres del Paine and other areas. From time to time there is little availability of hair, and can be obtained only under license.