Suri Alpaca-A Rare Breed of New Zealand

What is a Suri Alpaca?


The Suri alpaca is a member of the camelid family, which includes the llama, Huacaya alpaca, the wild vicuna and guanaco, and also the camel. The alpaca is originally from the high Andean Plateau and mountains of South America. There are two types of alpaca: Huacaya and Suri. Huacaya alpaca have a dense, soft, crimpy sheep-like fiber. Suri alpaca have long, silky fibre, which forms into locks much like dreadlocks.



The history of Suri Alpaca


The Suri Alpaca has a rich cultural history. Originally, the Incas raised this outstanding animal, whose fiber was thinner and softer than wool. But in the 1500s, as much as 90% of the alpacas were killed due to the Spanish invasion and replaced by European livestock (sheep, goats and cattle). Alpacas and their herders retreated into the Andean mountains to escape the conquerors. The Suri Alpacas are affected by the harsh conditions of high altitudes and cannot survive.



What makes Suri Alpaca expensive


The Suri Alpaca has unique fiber properties that make it more expensive than other alpaca breeds. Suri fiber has a cool, smooth feel, soft as cashmere, warmer than wool, and with the lustre of silk. Alpaca fibers are partially hollow, producing light weight garments with excellent thermal properties. The finished product is strong, soft and warm. Alpaca breeders have used selective breeding techniques to enhance nutrition and animal care and have made considerable advances with the quality of Suri bloodlines and the fiber they generate.



The characteristics of Suri Alpaca


Suri alpaca is famous in the Camelid family by its unique fiber characterstics. The fibers grow parallel to the body, while hanging in long, separate, unique locks, which enhance the animal's graceful appearance compared to the soft, wool-like appearance of the Huacaya Alpaca. Suri fibers are made of high-gloss fibers that hang on the sides of the body in twisted or flat shapes of various sizes.



Suri Alpaca has a high-end luxury fiber, which is highly prized for its luster, fineness, smooth feel, drape and strength. No other animal fiber has all of these characteristics, which has made Suri the most sought after worldwide.



Because its wool does not contain lanolin and is naturally hypoallergenic, there is no need to use excess chemicals in the production of its natural fiber products.