The Quechua Benefit Tour of 2019 witnessed an amazing vicuña Chaccu in the Peruvian highlands. The community of Picutani conducts a yearly ritual known as the Chaccu, or round-up, in which people from the high mountains come together to herd, catch and shear the wild vicuñas, after which they are released back into the wild. Dating back to pre-Columbian times, the Chaccu is a highly stylized, ritualistic activity. Offerings that include vicuña wool are made to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and to the Apus (Mountain Spirits) to ensure fertile crops and animals for the coming year. Sustainable-minded travelers will appreciate the Chaccu ritual of donating proceeds from the sale of the wool to benefit the communities involved. This in turn promotes and encourages their conservation efforts towards the vicuña. The vicuña wool itself is sold on the world market for $400 – $600 per kilo; a scarf made from pure vicuña wool can sell for approximately $2500, and a man’s overcoat for upwards of $30,000!
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