The lab photo below won first place of the FIU Tropics Photo Contest! Young vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) taking a bath in a high-Andean creek at 13,000 feet. Vicuñas are the smallest of the four species of South American camelids, but they are highly prized because of the very fine fiber that can be produced with their wool. As a consequence of the high economic value of this fiber, vicuñas were driven to near extinction in the 1960s, until biologists promoted the sustainable management of wild populations in the high-Andes of southern Peru. One of the first and most successful project was conducted at Pampas Galeras in Ayacucho (shown in the photograph), today a national reserve honoring the memory of environmental journalist Barbara D'Achille.
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