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The Chaku, a sustainable tradition

The Chaku is a millenary technique of vicuña shearing that is still used today. We'll tell you what it's all
| 08 February, 2020 |

Pre-Hispanic cultures had something that was lost over time: respect for nature . The awareness that resources are scarce and that the land is our home, and it is the only one we have, was perhaps what allowed them to develop and expand. An example of this is the Chaku, a millenary technique of vicuñashearingthat is still used today.

The vicuña is an animal that was in danger of extinction and is protected today. Lives in the Puna and in the Antiplane, more than 3500 meters above sea level. His coat is one of the finest fibers in the world. With it, products of high commercial value are made, in an artisanal way and without affecting the environment.

The Chaku is a technique that is used in the times of the Inca Empire, which allows to shear the animals without having to kill them. After removing the fiber, these are released. This technique continues to be used in the Puna until our days.

The procedure

It all starts with the “pre-chaku”, which is the necessary pre-planning, since the capture of the vicuña It’s risky. Between 60 and 100 people work, together with technicians and scientists, to be able to handle these animals in the best way, very sensitive to fear and to stress. There are many things you need to have to do to do this shearing sustainable.

It should be performed only in spring, when weather conditions are better: it’s hotter, still not rains began, but it stopped snowing. Pregnant females are not sheared at the last stage of gestation, nor the offspring younger than one year. Of must wait at least two years to re-shear the same vicuña and check that your hair has grown at least three centimeters.

In this way, through a procedure , this centuries-old tradition of the Chaku allows to preserve wild vicuñas, which are an important natural resource renewable energy and a socio – economic alternative for the communities of the Puna.

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