The alpaca is a relative of the llama and is domestically raised in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains in South America. For thousands of years, alpacas have provided sustenance in the form of food and clothing for the South American Indians. Alpaca furs date back to the Inca Empire of the 16th century, where they were treasured by royalty.
Throughout their lifetime, alpacas are frequently shorn for their wool. Since the alpaca wool industry is such a big enterprise, they are farmed and raised in a manner which promotes long life spans. The longer they live, the more wool can be shorn from them.