The Nunoa Project In Peru: Final Update

Nuñoa Project   
By: Stephen R. Purdy, DVM
Photo: Courtesy of Nuñoa Project 

Final Work For Nunoa Project Veterinary Team In Peru

Our team finished up this winter’s veterinary work trip in Peru with two days of llama work in the community of Cuncani near Urubamba. We worked with 9 farm families over 2 days. Each camelid community in Peru seems to have a unique personality and Cuncani is definitely an upbeat and happy place to work. It was a 3 hour drive from our home base in Urubamba over some high mountain passes and very windy roads.

When we arrived in the town of Lares about 30 minutes from our final destination we found many workers there digging in the streets and installing new water and sewer pipes. It was a short walk with our gear to the other side of town where we transferred to a station wagon for the remainder of the trip. We stayed in a community school classroom and ate our meals in the school kitchen building. The scenery was spectacular and true to form all herds we visited were uphill from the base camp. The hiking was not long but it was very steep. We were acclimated to the altitude at that point and luckily did not have rain during the 2 days.

We evaluated 9 small herds with the common finding of low body condition in most of them. This varied depending on the available pasture. We evaluated several breeding males which were mostly good. I estimate that about 50% of the anima ls were small for use as packers but most herds had enough to have string of animals. The last herd we evaluated on the second day had the best llamas we have ever seen in Peru. These tall Ccara llamas had good body condition and herd pregnancy rate. The owners are eager to start into packing for tourist treks and hopefully will be able to get going soon. They can certainly serve as a model for other farmers in the community. It was an excellent end to our work in Peru.

The day after our last community visit the team members all went there separate ways. One stayed in Urubamba, another went back to Lima, another to Tacna Peru, one back to the UK, and two of us back to the US. This team came with different experience levels with camelids but all had much to contribute to the work. They were a very fun group with which to work. Hard work and minor adversities have way of bonding team members and this trip was no exception. I expect and hope that some will work with Nunoa Project in Peru in the future. Overall during our 2 weeks in Peru we handled and evaluated approximately 450 alpacas and llamas for 28 farmers. Progress is being made for farmers we have visited in the past and I feel optimistic about the future for the new farmers we met. We have the incentive and skill to help the farmers to improve their animals’ health and production and thus to increase their family income. It is always humbling to meet and work with Peruvian camelid farmers.

Please help us to help them and to train future camelid veterinarians and scientists in Peru and the US by making a tax deductible donation to the Nunoa Project through our website or by mail. Your money will be well spent where there is a great need. Please give generously to help us help others.

Learn more about Nuñoa Project here.