Sachem Farm

                            Suri Llamas 

The history of suri llamas is a long one; according to archaeological studies completed by Dr. Jane Wheeler, South America did have very fine coated llamas with suri fibre before most breeding programs were destroyed after the Spanish Conquest.  Dr Weeler states; “ The existence of fine fibre-producing single-coated llama mummies contradicts the traditional idea that llamas were only reared for meat production and used as pack animals making no contribution to fibre production. One unshorn, uniform red-brown male llama mummy, approx. two years of age had 14-16 cm long lustrous fibre and a fleece diameter of 21.1 microns.  This mummy documents the pre-conquest existence of suri llamas.  Unfortunately we have not yet been able to obtain ancient DNA from the mummies, though we are still trying. Nonetheless, our analysis of contemporary suri llama from Argentine has documented the existence of ‘nonhybridized’ specimens, indicating that suri llama are indeed ‘real’ llamas, not the product of crossing between llamas and alpacas. Moreover, the El Yaral suri llama mummy suggests the suri llama is likely an ancient breed. The evidence leads me to conclude that suri breeders in the US are privileged to have such beautiful and rare animals and should feel a special responsibility for the preservation and propagation of the breed.”