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A movement to protect the migration of the species that connects landscapes and cultures in South America

A Species That Exemplifies South America

The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is an iconic herbivore of the arid grasslands and the Andes Mountains in the Southern Cone. As a migratory species, it depends on vast and connected habitats to feed, reproduce, and rest.

Restricting its seasonal migrations may threaten its survival. Many of these migrations have already been lost, and those that endure face a range of threats depending on the region. Protecting its migratory processes is essential.

Communities can flourish through nature tourism when guanacos are present in their landscapes. Their economies can take advantage of wild guanaco shearing, and in some countries, of products like guanaco leather and meat.

One Year, Two Opportunities

In 2024, the International Year of Camelids as declared by the United Nations (Resolution 72,210), we request:

1. The inclusion of the guanaco in Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) during the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14), which will take place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on February 12-14 of 2024, to strengthen cross-border conservation initiatives between Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.

2. The declaration of an International Guanaco Day to promote awareness about the importance of preserving this species and its migratory processes, through which it connects many landscapes and cultures of the Southern Cone.

Why Do Its Migrations Matter?

Migration is an essential aspect of guanaco life, allowing the species to sustain abundant populations, favoring the diversity and genetic structure of its populations, reducing excessive grazing, and avoiding competition with other species. Improving connectivity within the areas where it lives allows it to roam safely.

Healthy grasslands sequester carbon in their soil, contributing to adaptation and mitigation in the face of climate change. To adjust to future environmental change, it’s crucial to create a network of connected core areas, preserving biodiversity and facilitating the adaptation of species to their shifting surroundings.

The guanaco’s seasonal use of pastures allow soil and grass to regenerate, improving the integrity of the ecosystem. Its anatomical and physiological adaptations allow plants to maintain their structure and succession.

What Is Its Conservation Status?

In the last two hundred years, it’s estimated that the guanaco population decreased from 10-30 million individuals to approximately 2.5 million.

Up to 90% of its original populations may have disappeared or been drastically reduced.

Its distribution area shrunk to 40% of the range the species occupied in the past.

Human Pressures That Impact Its Conservation

In each country, the guanaco and its migratory processes face different challenges. For that reason, it’s necessary to coordinate efforts to achieve a regional strategy that promotes the coexistence of communities with the species and its conservation.

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Habitat deterioration due to overgrazing and the mining, oil, and gas industries.
Competition with introduced herbivores over food and water. 
Barriers to movement (gates, highways, urban development) and roadkills.

Predation by exotic carnivores (unsupervised dogs).
Crossbreeding with domestic camelids and illnesses. 
Lack of food and water due to climate change.

Regional Distribution

Click on each country to learn more about the situation of the species in each territory.

Who Supports This Initiative?

This regional and multi-organizational initiative seeks to promote awareness about this species, highlighting its migratory nature to promote cross-border conservation strategies.

Be Part of the Movement

By following the hashtag #GuanaConecta and sharing content on your social networks.

Download the Brochure

Photo credits: Santiago Sainz-Trápaga (AFONA) – Guanaco trapped in wire fence / Alejandro Carribero (AFONA) – Burning bush / Diego Cabañas – Guanaco in profile backlit.

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