Trade in Vicuña: Implications for Conservation and Rural Livelihoods
Once overhunted and on the brink of extinction, the vicuña species (a small member of the camelid family) is thriving again in South America’s Andes region. The decision to grant usufructory rights to communities to shear and sell vicuña fibre increased their economic incentive to sustainably manage and protect the species.
As a result, vicuña populations have recovered and trade has grown by 78% since 2007, which is generating income for Andean rural communities and textile-processing sectors. This study maps the value chain, assesses the factors that have helped the species recover, and identifies current challenges facing the vicuña fibre trade, including the distribution of benefits and threats to conservation.