A New Experience: Argentina

On the strength of the successful creation of the Dr. Franco Loro Piana Reserve in Peru in 2008 five years later Loro Piana ventured into the icy uplands of northern Argentina. Here it purchased the majority share in a company that has permission to shear the vicuñas that live wild in the area it owns the rights to, situated in the Catamarca province in the north east of the country.

In Argentina too the scheduled, controlled, cruelty-free shearing of the animals is the most effective way to discourage poaching: without their precious fleece the vicuñas no longer represent a source of income for criminals. This is why in Catamarca they say that every animal sheared is an animal saved.

In Argentina, where the climate is even more extreme, the outer coat of the vicuña is slightly different from that of the Peruvian animals: the fibre is even finer and lighter in colour, almost white, blending into the glacial hues of the puna landscape.

Argentina has a smaller vicuña population than Peru, and unlike in Peru the animals are not the property of the government or the local communities, but simply viewed as part of the fauna naturally present in the area. However the government is committed to protecting and safeguarding the species, and monitoring the shearing process, which must take place on live animals using cruelty-free methods. The huge size of the area means that private involvement is important. Operating in organized structures, the companies concerned monitor and count the animals, and have the permission of the Catamarca province government, under the aegis of CITES, to shear the vicuñas that settle in the areas they are responsible for.

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