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Vicuna and calf

Vicuna and calf
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-01-04
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite wild animal photos, The Wildlife, Plants and Scenery of Chile [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-01-15 8:40
Viewed: 5946
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot in Lauca National Park - about 6kn from the Bolivian border. I used a momopod.

The vicuņa (Vicugna vicugna) or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to be the wild ancestor of domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fiber. Vicuņas produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, which is very expensive because the animal can only be shorn every 3 years. When knitted together, the product of the vicuņa's fur is very soft and warm. It is understood that the Inca raised vicuņas for their wool, and that it was against the law for any but royalty to wear vicuņa garments.

Both under the rule of the Inca and today, vicuņas have been protected by law. Before being declared endangered in 1974, only about 6,000 animals were left. Today, the vicuņa population has recovered to about 125,000, and while conservation organizations have reduced its level of threat, they still call for active conservation programs to protect population levels from poaching, habitat loss, and other threats.

The vicuņa is considered more delicate and graceful than the guanaco, and smaller. Although their coats may look thin, they are made up of insulating hairs that are softer and warmer than any other animal.[citation needed] Its long, woolly coat is tawny brown on the back while the hair on the throat and chest is white and quite long. The head is slightly shorter than the guanaco's and the ears are slightly longer. The length of head and body ranges from 1.45 to 1.60 m (about 5 ft); shoulder height from 75 to 85 cm (around 3 ft); weight from 35 to 65 kg (under 150 lb).

Vicuņas live exclusively in South America, primarily in the central Andes. They are most commonly found in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and northwest Argentina. Peru has the largest number. Bolivia has a great number of wild vicuņas in the south western side of the country.

Vicuņas live in the grasslands and plains in the mountain regions at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,500 meters. There are many places they live but one usual place where they can be found is in the grassy plains of the Andes Mountains. In these areas, only nutrient-poor, tough bunch grasses and Festuca grow. The sun's rays are able to penetrate the thin atmosphere producing relatively warm temperatures during the day; however, the temperatures drop down to freezing at night. The vicuņa's thick but soft coat is a special adaptation which traps layers of warm air close to its body so it can tolerate the freezing temperatures there short or long.

Morigann, Arjun, ferranjlloret, siggi, haraprasan, boreocypriensis, eqshannon, matatur, Adanac, vanderschelden, iris, ravish, albert, uleko, CeltickRanger, rousettus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

great capture, such delicate creatures, TFS Ori

Hello James,
Nice capture with two cute vicuņa. Fine details.

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2009-01-15 9:12]

hello sir,
Fantastic picture. beautiful composition and lighting

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-01-15 9:37]

Hello James,
Great capture from N. Chile of a mother vicuna and calf. The lighting, sharpness and composition with their reflections in the shallow pool puts this image in an elite class.
Kind regards,

Hello James,
Nice capture of these vicuņas. Beautiful animal, precioso el desierto de Atacama.
Best Regards and TFS. Ferran

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-01-15 9:59]

Hello James,
What a lovely capture of these two guanacos. Nice colours and details. focus, POV, colors very nice. This is very beautifully composed. Great shot.
Best regards Siggi

Hi James,
A nice capture of these vicunas which are new to me. Sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hi Brother James, another excelent and lovely shot from Chile. Vicunas are very atractive animals and relict species in America of camelids. Details, colours and composition are wonderful as well as reflections on water surface.
TFS this fine shot.


  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2009-01-15 10:34]

Hello James,
Very beautiful capture of mother and son, great POV, I like
the reflection on the water.. Well done


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-01-15 11:07]

Hello James,
Another beauty from your Chili trip. Beautiful colours and very sharp. Great reflections in the water.
We got plans to go to the same area next summer. So I'm very curious about the rest of your photos.

That mono saved your image for sure..without it I don't think it would have worked quite as well depending...nice things..many choose them..I have one which I had forgotten about...Very neat lesson James!

A lovely couple with some enchanting reflections, all expertly captured with good exposure and sharp focus James, thank you indeed for sharing this rare sight my friend.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2009-01-15 17:28]

Hello James,
Excellent image of this wonderful species, they look small and fine featured. Great work james.

Hello James,
Excellent moment, James. And of course beautiful Vicuņas. Delicate and graceful indeed.
Beautiful light as well.
I see you're working with a Ds. Are you happy with it?

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2009-01-15 20:53]

Hi James,
Nice to see you back.
Vicuna- new one for me and i dare say they look as gentle as lamb ..even the adult!!!
Fine composition ...i like the water ripple where the legs of the adults crosses.The lighting highlights the fur on the pair...and is it just in notes...or is it only loyalty that wear the wool?
TFS & Cheers
Hope you ar doing fine and Chile was great:)

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2009-01-15 22:16]

Hi James,
Wonderful shot of this mother and calf crossing a small stream. Very neat and sharp image with soothing lighting and perfect DOF. I see them for the first time and thanks to you I travel to another part of our world today.
TFS this fine image.

Hi James, Great composition, nice light and very good reflexion, excellent note too
Well done

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-01-16 6:23]

Hello James,
A beautiful capture of this Vicuna Mum with her calf. A beautiful species and here shown in very nice light showing lovely details and colours.
TFS and regards, Ulla

hello James

very beautiful photography of these South American wild animals,
shot with fine POV and DOF, beautiful warm luminosity
and colour tones, excellent sharpness and details,
lovely reflection on the water, TFS


Hi James
This is also great shot of Vicuna with calf. Composition, focus and reflection very nice. good informative notes as always. Thanks for sharing, best wishes

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