DistributionThe guanaco is a vulnerable animal native to the arid, mountainous regions of South America. Guanaco are found in the altiplano of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina. In Chile and Argentina, they are more numerous in Patagonian regions, as well as in places like the Torres del Paine National Park, and ''Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego''. In these areas, they have more robust populations, since there are limitations on grazing competition from livestock. Bolivian Indians have been known to raise guanaco to help them regain their population stability. A guanaco’s typical lifespan is 20 to 25 years.
Estimates, as of 2011, place their numbers at 400,000 to 600,000.
Guanacos live in herds composed of females, their young and a dominant male. Bachelor males form a separate herd. While female groups tend to remain small, often containing no more than ten adults, bachelor herds may contain as many as 50 males. When they feel threatened, guanaco alert the herd to flee with a high-pitched bleating call. The male will usually run behind the herd to defend them. They can run with a speed of 56 km per hour, often over steep and rocky terrain. They are also excellent swimmers. The guanaco have an unusual method of survival—licking all the nutrients and dew from desert cacti....hieroglyph snipped...
Guanacos are one of the largest wild mammal species found in South America . They have only one natural predator, the mountain lion. Guanacos will often spit when threatened.
To protect its neck from harm, the guanaco has developed thicker skin on its neck, a trait still found in its domestic counterparts, the llama and alpaca, and its wild cousin, the vicuña. Bolivians use the necks of these animals to make shoes, flattening and pounding the skin to be used for the soles. In Chile, the government has approved the killing of 15,000 guanacos per year in 2013.
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