Origins and characteristics of the Lama
Species: glama L.
The Lama is one of the four species of South American camelids; the others are lalpaca, guanaco and vicuna (Lama guanicoe Muller 1776 - Guanaco; Lama glama Linnaeus 1758 - Lama; Vicugna vicugna Molina 1782 - Vicuna; Vicugna pacos Linnaeus 1758 - Alpaca. These species were bred not only for their value such as pack animals, but also to obtain meat and wool.
The arrival of the Spanish rulers led to a regression of cameliculture since wars and then the lack of interest led to their indiscriminate killing for food purposes; in addition, the importation of other types of cattle (cattle, horses, sheep, etc.) meant that the camelids were relegated to the areas at higher altitudes, in particular on the Andean highlands, where they are still bred.
Today the llama breeding has spread fairly well in North America and Europe, both for the production of wool and because these animals are able to protect the flocks from the attacks of many predators.
The blade has a less thick and precious coat than alpaca, as well as having longer ears. Among the Andean populations, it is traditional to decorate the long ears of llamas with very colorful bows that facilitate their identification in the pasture. The lamas spit among themselves, when they feel threatened or to keep their like too intrusive at a distance.
Llamas can live for up to 20 years.
Weight: between 120 and 150 kg
Height at the withers: up to 120 cm, sometimes reaching 130 cm.
Coat color: monochromatic, brown and black, spotty or appaloosa.
Duration of gestation: 330-360 days.
Lama (website photo)
Domestic blade - Lama glama
Domestic llama - Lama glama
Catamarca lama meat
Lama meat is a traditional food of the small communities of the Catamarca region, north of Argentina, in particular the historical breeding area is the village of Antofagasta de la Sierra where they are kept to graze on the moorland at about 4000 meters height.
Although it has a lower fat content and is more fibrous, llama meat has always been cooked in a similar way to beef, for roasts, stews or empadanas. It is excellent both stewed and grilled. A typical dish is a stew with llama meat, quinoa and Andean potatoes.
The consumption of llama meat resists as usual food only in small mountain villages closed to communication with other communities and is sometimes called with contempt by some other populations "food of the Indians". The inhabitants of these villages feed only on what they grow and breed, but for historical and cultural reasons they consider what comes from the city, including cow meat, superior to native products.
The small demand for products derived from this animal, together with the change in feeding habits of the local populations, are leading to a gradual abandonment of llama farming in the Catamarca region. Catamarca llama is a Slow Food Presidium www.fondazioneslowfood.com.