Authorities in the Andean region of Ayacucho denounced that over 100 vicuñas were killed by poachers who are after the animals’ high-end wool, daily El Comercio reported.
Community members in district of San Pedro said they found at least 120 dead vicuñas. The governor of Ayacucho, Wilmer Rivera, said that police are investigating the issue.
Vicuñas, which roam wild on the grasslands of the high Andes, are camelids, along with llamas and alpacas.
The animal is best known for its soft fine wool, a fibre that is very resilient and also one of the most expensive in the world. A vicuña coat, for example, can go for tens-of-thousands of dollars.
Poaching of the animal in the 1960s and 1970s almost led to their extinction. The vicuña population has recovered thanks to a program of protected national parks and a crack-down on the unregulated trade of vicuña wool. But the skittish animals need to run wild over large expanses of territory, mostly in Ayacucho and Arequipa, and park guards are few and unable to monitor the area completely.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature continues to list the vicuña as a threatened species.