The guanaco is a member of the camel family from South America. The wild version of the domesticated llama and alpaca, it is renowned for its fine wool. With a reddish double coat consisting of a thick, course overcoat and soft, downy undercoat, the animal is a protected species making its wool very rare. Limited quantities are sustainably harvested to be made into expensive luxury garments.
Unlike its domesticated relatives, the llama and alpaca, guanacos are not kept in captivity for their wool. They are captured and sheared and then released back into the wild.
Despite being considered one of the finest fibers in the world, guanaco wool's fame is overshadowed by that of two of its comparable relatives--the alpaca and the vicuña.
The alpaca is guanaco's domestic cousin. Alpacas are now bred all over the world, due to their easy adaptation to several different regions and climates, making it far more common and thereby more affordable.