Llamas are members of the South American Camelid (SAC) family which are all classified under the genus of Lama (single “L”). Species within the Lama genus are Vicuna, Guanaco, Alpaca and Llama (double “LL”). All species within the Lama genus can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. It is believed the llamas were domesticated from wild guanacos from the Andean Highlands of Peru about six thousand years ago.
While primarily used as a beast of burden for native herdsman, llamas also provided them with meat, wool, hides for shelter, manure pellets for fuel and were also used as sacrificial offerings to their gods. Today there are an estimated seven million llamas in South America.