National Geographic : 1981 Jul
one of the island's now extinct Indian tribes that depended on the guanaco. Merry offered the chulengo cow's milk from a bottle, but the little animal refused. "We'll have to teach her to drink," Merry ad vised Shelly and Katia. The first day's effort failed, and Merry and I shared the girls' apprehension. Next morning Shelly nestled the bottle under her arm, and Ona responded by downing every drop. "This way, she thinks I'm her moth er," Shelly declared. Within a week Ona was guzzling eight bottles a day. Man: Both Friend and Foe To help the chulengo adjust and avoid feeling lonely at night, I slept outside with her. As I lay in my bag, Ona cuddled against me, warm in her luxuriant, downy wool. Because of this close early association, she soon became my unshakable companion. We weren't the first to adopt a chulengo. Patagonian Indians had long acquired gua nacos for pets and to use as food. Here on Isla Grande, where galloping af ter a chulengo through boggy meadows and VENEZUELA CLOMBIA ECUADOR - dense forest can be dangerous, hunting has had little effect on the guanaco population. But on the mainland, hundreds of thou sands of chulengos have been hunted down despite protective laws, and their pelts mar keted throughout the world. These depredations, combined with the overwhelming competition of livestock, have caused the species to be endangered in many parts of Peru and Chile. High profits from the fur trade, remoteness of animal populations, and scarcity of funds and data have hampered conservation efforts. Within the past few years, however, con cern for the guanaco has increased because of a growing wave of wildlife awareness in South America. Understandably, among nations with developing economies, many wildlife-conservation efforts are being asked to pay their own way. "To gain support for such programs," explained Claudio Cunazza, a regional wildlife manager for the National Forest Service (CONAF) in southern Chile, "there often must be a return benefit to the people and the economy." This return can come GUANACO Once counted in millions, 50,000 to 150,000 of these animals remain, mainly clustered at the continent's tip. Raised for its fine long wool, the alpaca, like the llama, ranges in color from black to shades of brown to white. RANGE OF THE GUANACO F Original range M. Present range Hatched areas: range uncertain 0KM 800 0 MILES 800 f DRAWNBY JAMESE. McCLELLAND COMPILEDBY DAVIDC. CHANG NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC ARTDIVISION TORRES DELPAINE NATIONAL PARK--" ESTANCIA CAMERON- THE GUANACO AND ITS RELATIVES A member of the camelid family, the guanaco belongs to the order of hoofed mammals called ungulates. It is indigenous to Patagonia and the lower slopes of the Andes. The related alpaca and llama are domesticated. The vicuna and guanaco, both wild, have suffered from the predations of pelt hunters.