Their fleece is exceptionally soft and silky, and in the time of the Incas was reserved for royal robes. The vicuña has never been successfully domesticated; wild herds were rounded up for shearing. Hunted to the verge of extinction for its wool and flesh, it is now protected and has recovered. Today wool is harvested from animals in the wild and others confined to ranches or enclosed ranges.
The vicuña is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Camelidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Vertebrate Zoology