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Guanaco and Quisco

Guanaco and Quisco
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-01-02
Categories: Mammals, Desert, Cacti
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): The Wildlife, Plants and Scenery of Chile [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-10-09 8:55
Viewed: 6222
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this guanaco with my 300mm 2.8 + 1.4x converter. We were quite close to the ocean >1km, and the desert shoed signs of life - there were a number of large quisco cacti - a little further inland there was virtually nothing.

The Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a camelid native to South America that stands between 107 and 122 centimeters (3.5 and 4 feet) at the shoulder and weighs about 90 kg (200 lb). The colour varies very little, ranging from a light brown to dark cinnamon and shading to white underneath. Guanacos have grey faces and small straight ears. They are extremely striking with their large, alert brown eyes, streamlined form, and energetic pace. The name Guanaco comes from the South American language Quechua word "huanaco." Young guanacos are called chulengo(s).

The guanaco is native to the arid, mountainous regions of South America. Guanaco are found in the altiplano of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. In Chile and Argentina they are more numerous in Patagonian regions, in places like the Torres del Paine National Park, and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. In these areas they have more robust populations, since there are limitations on grazing competition from livestock. Bolivian Indians have been known to raise guanacos to help them regain their population stability. A guanaco typical life span is 20 to 25 years.

Current estimates place their numbers at 400,000 to 600,000.

Guanacos live in herds composed of females, their young and a dominant male. Bachelor males form a separate herd. While female groups tend to remain small, often containing no more than ten adults, bachelor herds may have as many as 50 animals present. When they feel threatened, guanacos alert the herd to flee with a high-pitched bleating call. The male will usually run behind the herd in order to defend them. They can run with a speed of 56 km (35 mi) per hour, often over steep and rocky terrain. They are also excellent swimmers. The Guanacos have an unusual method of survival; licking all the nutrients and dew from desert cacti.

Guanacos are one of the largest wild mammal species found in South America (along with the manatee, the tapir, and the jaguar). They have only one natural predator, the mountain lion or puma. Guanacos will often spit when threatened.

To protect its neck from harm, the guanaco has developed thicker skin on its neck, a trait still found in its domestic counterparts, the llama and alpaca, and its wild cousin, the vicuña. Bolivians use the necks of these animals to make shoes, flattening and pounding the skin to be used for the soles.

The cactus behind the guanaco is a Quisco.

Haageocereus fascicularis commonly known as 'Quisco de la precordillera de Arica' is a species of cactus from the Cactaceae family. It is endemic to southern Peru and northern Chile.

It branches at the base. It reaches about 3 feet in height with many arms measuring about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Its white, very fragrant flowers open at night and measure about 3 inches. Its fruit is bright red.

rousettus, nglen, CeltickRanger, cypturk, nasokoun, zulfu, Argus, boreocypriensis, ferranjlloret, Dis. Ac., anel, rcrick has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello James
great capture of lovely Guanaco against cactus. great focus and POV. composition and colors also nice. thanks for sharing it with good information. best wishes

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-10-09 9:21]

Hi James. This is an animal i have never seen before so thanks for posting on TN. Not to much around for it to eat.You have used the light well which has given natural colours in the fur .Taken with good detail along side the Quisco plant. All with interesting notes. Well done TFS.

Have a good weekend.

hello James

excellent photo of this Lama, shot with fine POV, DOF
and i love the way it is framed on the image, fine focus
excellent sharpness and details, a lovely luminosity,
and i love the warm colour tones of the Lama, TFS


Hi James,
Impressive picture of this guanaco. Composition perfect!

hello James
an other beautiful scene from this splendid country, very good photo output!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-10-09 11:12]

Hello James,
Beautiful photo of this Guanaco. It's more than 25 years ago that I saw this animals in the wild in Peru. Great natural colours and good sharpness and details. Nice composition.
Have a good weekend,

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-10-09 12:25]

Hello James, lovely shot of this cute guanaco and quisco cactus with wonderful composition and colours.
TFS and G's,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-10-09 12:53]

Hello James,
A fine capture of what seems to be two of the few species of living things at the edge of this Chilean desert.
Both the Guanaco and the Quisco cactus are well shown together with fine sharpness and lighting. Seperate shots of each would these would be more tricky to make interesting.
Thanks and have a good weekend,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-10-09 15:10]

Hi James,a very interesting,nice and strange specie to find on TN,very great composition,impressive focus on the guanaco and beautiful cactus in background too.My best compliments,have a nice weekend,LUCIANO

Hi Big Bro James,

A real beauty and great wildlife capture. The composition and presentation of these two nature beauty (guanaco and cactus) just perfect!
TFS and have a nice WE!


Hola James,
Una imagen excelente de éste precioso camélido en su hábitata natural. Felicidades por los resultados.
Saludos cordiales.

Hello James,

another fine picture from an mammal in good pose and pov.
Very nice picture.


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-10-10 5:05]

Hello James,
Very interesting posting, picture and text. I admire these animals living in such hostile environments and being so strong. Amazing to read that their neck-skin is used to make shoes! You really have an exciting life with all the travels you make around the globe.
Thanks and kind regards

Hello James

Missed this one too, really nice work mate, the focus is excellent as is the sharpness and details,

Cheers Rick :)

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