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Alpacas of Greater TN

Preserving the Past; Breeding the Future

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What is a Suri

The suri alpaca evolved from the rare and still-wild vicuna. The alpaca is also cousin to two other camelid family members: the llama and the guanaco. Treasured by Inca rulers, suri fiber was reserved exclusively for Inca royalty, with the offense of anyone other than royalty wearing suri fiber punishable by death. 

 Spanish conquistadors killed a large part of the alpaca herds during their 17th century invasion of South America, the remaining herds’ seeked refuge in the Altiplano, which are the high mountain plains located in the Andes.  The descendents we see today are from these very survivors.  The harsh environment that they lived in for several centuries has helped create an animal with very dense, very warm fiber. 

The very unique, rope-like, twisted locks of the suri easily distinguish that fiber style from the compact, spongy - or often fluffy - huacaya fiber appearance. Suri fiber locks, made up of high-luster fibers, drape down the sides of the body in a twisted or flat form of various size. Suri fiber has a slick hand and softness with an exquisite luster.

Today, it is estimated that less than 150,000 suris exist world-wide, with one or two percent of these being colored.  On the world market, the suri fleece is in high demand for its luster and hand (or softness) for the high fashion textile markets, and today commands a premium price. 

Ours is a growing industry, and the suri market is very strong. As evidence, almost every major, national alpaca auction consists of 50% suris and 50% huacayas, even though suris only comprise 20% of the U.S. population - proof of the high market demand. 

Suri alpacas have extraordinary vigor and intelligence. They are also easy to raise and have great adaptability to both hot and cold climates, which makes them an excellent investment anywhere in the United States. 

--excerpted from Purely Suri Magazine, Volume 1, Number 1

Updated July 14, 2011