Year of the llama: Bolivia calls for 2016 to be dedicated to camelids

Year of the llama: Bolivia calls for 2016 to be dedicated to camelids

South American nation wants UN to raise awareness of the animal family, which includes alpacas and dromedary camels

Sara Shahriari in La Paz
The Guardian, Friday 28 November 2014 19.32 GMT

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For centuries they have hauled loads up the Andes and through trackless deserts with no more acknowledgment than a slap on the rump. Now, however, the llama’s moment may finally have come: the Bolivian government is lobbying the UN to make 2016 the international year of camelids.

The proposal – which would include not only llamas but alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos, found in Andean South America, and the Bactrian and dromedary camel, found in Asia, Africa and Australia – is contained in a draft resolution which proclaims “the economic and cultural importance of camelids in the lives of the people living in the areas where they are domesticated and used as a source of food and wool and as pack animals”.

The resolution, which will be considered by the UN general assembly, encourages the international community to “raise awareness at all levels to promote the protection of camelids and the consumption of the goods produced from these mammals in a sustainable manner”. The move has been welcomed by those who have studied the animals’ contribution to society down the centuries. “Historically, the development of Andean cultures is based on camelids,” said Daniel Maydana, a Bolivian anthropologist with many years’ experience in vicuña projects.

He said a year dedicated to camelid produce could be a boon to the farmers who raise the animals – as long as recognition is accompanied by investment in sustainable projects.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/28/bolivia-2016-year-of-llama-alpaca-camelids-un-resolution?CMP=share_btn_fb

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