Image from www.vicunas.com
You think Alpacas are cute - have a look at these fellas - if you don't know already these are called Vicunas. Closely related to Alpacas, Vicunas have a fine soft hair which is celebrated for its insulation properties. It is said that Vicuna yarn is the finest and luxurious natural wool in the world.
Vicunas are wild animals and unlike the Alpaca they are too shy to domesticate. A Vicuna can only produce a small amount of yarn each year and capturing the wild animals to obtain the fibre can be a little tricky. Peruvian communities join together to capture the animals by forming a large circle around them, banging the ground to stun them and slowing closing in on them or luring them into traps. Once sheared the animals are released unharmed but due to this time consuming and potentially stressful event for the Vicuna, the animals are only sheared every 3 to 4 years. You may be disappointed to hear that you won't be able to get this yarn at your local John Lewis. As you've probably already guessed this yarn is very expensive. Vicuna fabrics can range from £1000 to £3000 per sq yard.