The country of origin
The Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) originates from South America (Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina...) Although we can find these now all over the world.
The origin countries still have the largest population of several million alpacas and they produce the largest amount of alpaca fibre (around 6500 tonnes per year).
The animal has been bred for millennial in this region of the world. They live in the mountains, on the Andean plateaus, and is accustomed to the arid conditions (large variations of temperature, grazing with low regrowth...). Alpaca is there a common breeding animal in use to produce fiber for clothing and food (meat).
History of fiber
"The fibre of the gods" was once reserved for the Inca nobility but has since become democratized. With the Spanish arrival in South America, the alpacas have virtually disappeared and have changed a lot to please newcomers. To have larger animals and a greater amount of fibre/meat per animal, the alpaca was often and carelessly selected taking into account its size and/or cross to the Lama (bigger), unfortunately making it lose in passing the original quality of the fiber ancestor, the Vicuña.
Nowadays, Peru has developed a real industry with the alpaca fiber. Even if the fiber are more and more sorted according to their softness, which was not necessarily the case in the past, the common of mortals has access only to the peruvian grade -Baby alpaca-.
This quality does not necessarily come from babies, is not uncommon and not the sweetest either.
In this Peruvian industry, the small alpaca breeders, the Alpagueros, are unfortunately still poor and the profits unevenly distributed.
The alpacas you meet in Quebec are born in Canada or, more rarely, in the United States. Alpacas are registered animals and importing from Peru is virtually impossible.