Pacuna® Facts

What do you get when you cross a shark and a dog? I'm not sure but they say its bite is a lot worse than its bark. Well, we all know that crossing animals as diverse as this is not possible but we also know those closer crosses are not only possible but also very desirable. The mule, a cross between a donkey and a horse, possesses many good attributes of each parent (some say they also possess a couple of new ones all their own as well). The problem with mules is that they are reproductively sterile.

When contemplating any cross species type of hybrids the important point to consider is why would one want to do it. The obvious answer is to get offspring that will improve both of the species being crossed. In the case of the Pacuna®, there is no doubt that this goal is achieved. The alpaca has fine fiber but the Vicuna fiber is second to none. The Vicuna is basically a wild animal that produces very small amounts of fiber whereas the alpaca is very domesticated and does very well in captivity producing larger amounts of fiber. So the Pacuna® is the perfect result. The fiber is very fine with diameters in the 12 to 14 micron range. The yields are about four times what one would harvest from the Vicuna. The animals are a bit higher strung but do very well in larger enclosures. They accept being handled. Perhaps one of the most important results is that the Pacuna® is reproductively sound. Initial research in the United States has demonstrated the fertility of Pacunas® with levels of up to 7/8 Vicuna while still retaining much of the more docile alpaca temperament.

Externally, the Pacuna® truly looks like a mix of both parents. A 1/2 breed usually has a darkish red coloration. The head is more streamlined than the alpaca with the shorter ears. The eyes are a bit larger in relation to the head as in the Vicuna. As the cross gets higher percents of Vicuna blood the lighter colored bib becomes more apparent as does the typical Vicuna coloration.

Is the Pacuna® a new animal of the future? Perhaps, but it is also an animal of the past. In Peru there is both accidental and intentional cross breeding of alpacas and Vicunas and also there is interbreeding of the other camelids in the area (llamas and guanacos). So as you can see the idea of the Pacuna® is not new in South America but it is very new in the Untied states.