National Llama Day
About National Llama Day
When is National Llama? This special day is always observed on December 9
Many people describe Llamas as mystical and magical creatures. Others see them as cute and fuzzy farm animals or pets. Yes, that’s right. You can have one as a pet. Or, you can keep a Llama as a therapy animal. And, they are a common attraction at zoos around the world. Wherever you see them, you quickly become enamored with this lovable creature. Today is National Llama Day. It is sometimes called Llama Appreciation Day. Appropriately on this December 12 holiday, we celebrate them and spend time appreciating adorable llamas.
Today is a perfect time to visit your local zoo to see them. They make good animals in petting zoos, too. But, don’t irritate them as they are known to spit. If you can’t get to see them live today, spend some time learning more about them. And, pull up pictures of them on the internet.
Llamas are members of the Camelid family. They are related to camels. As a camelid, they are more able to survive droughts than most other animals. Adults grow up to six feet tall. When mature, they weigh 400-500 pounds. Their close cousin, the Alpaca, looks very similar, only smaller. Alpacas are also domestic. Both Llamas and Alpacas are native to South America.
Existing Llamas are native to the Andes Mountains of Peru and Bolivia in South America. They once roamed North America. But, they died off during the Ice Age. Today, most wild herds live in their native South America.
Many thousands of years ago, natives in South America hunted them for food and clothing. Originally, they were found high in the Andes mountains at elevations of 13,000 to 14,500 feet. Llamas were domesticated over 6,000 years ago. Ancient Incans brought them down from the mountains and raised them for a variety of reasons. Notably,this beast of burden is a great pack animal.
Today, most Llamas that live in the wild, are in South America. In South America, domestic Llamas are pack animals and farm animals where they are grown for meat and wool. However, many countries imported them, primarily in the Americas and Europe.
How Llamas are Used
Llamas are used for many purposes. Here are some of them:
- As previously mentioned, they are excellent pack animals.
- They have fed people for many thousands of years.
- Clothing is made from Llama wool.
- You can even make string from the wool.
- Their excrement is a source of fuel.
- Llamas make great guards for livestock, most notably sheep. 78% of domesticated llamas guard livestock.
- Llamas are found in many petting zoos.
- Some people keep them as pets.
- Llamas are also used as therapy animals.
Population of Llamas Around the World
There are an estimated 7 million Llamas and Alpacas around the world in the world and zoos. About 5 million are Llamas. The population goes up and down with changes in people’s attitude towards them. Years ago, they were an investment. Their numbers went up and down with their popularity. People spent big money to get them. People bought them simply to keep as pets. Then, as interest in them dropped, so did prices. Today, you can buy a Llama to guard your livestock for under $600. Accordingly, with the drop in demand, their population dropped off, too.
Here are some of the estimated Llama populations in select countries:
United States of America: 165,000
United Kingdom: 5,000
New Zealand: 1,500
Did You Know? In 1986, a single Llama was auctioned off in Salem, Oregon for $220,000. It remains a world record.
How to Celebrate National Llama Day
Here are some ways to celebrate National Llama Day:
- Go to a zoo or Llama farm to see them. Take your kids, niece, or nephew with you.
- Go to a petting zoo that has one. Feel how soft the wool is.
- Learn more about them.
- Teachers can have the class draw them in art class.
- Be creative. Make llama cookies. Take cookie dough and shape it like a llama. Then, decorate it with decorative sugars and candies.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – – Dalai Lama
History and Origin of National Llama Day
This holiday originated in Manitoba, Canada in 1932. That year there was a drought and many domesticated animals died. However, the hardy Llama survived that dreadful summer. This led to the creation of Llama Day. Canada celebrates this holiday from sunup to sundown.
Our research showed this holiday spread to the United States. And in the U.S. is it called National Llama Day. We did not find any documentation of why the word “National” was added to the title. And we found no U.S. congressional records or presidential proclamation about this special day.
Definition of “National” Days – and why it is important to distinguish true National days.
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