文章主講 Karen, Chris
The word domestication1 refers to the taming of wild animals for food, work, or pleasure. Cats and dogs, pigs and cows, horses and sheep all once roamed freely, even before humans evolved. Later, these animals were raised by humans in controlled environments.
Native to South America, the alpaca was a favorite animal raised by the Inca along with its cousin the llama. The latter is a larger, hardier species used as a pack animal. The alpaca, smaller and lighter, was and still is raised for its fine, silky fleece. Both animals can survive in high-altitude environments. The alpaca, in particular, can be found at altitudes of up to 5,000 meters, a kilometer higher than the peak of Taiwan’s Mt. Jade. People and animals living at such elevations must adapt to the thinner, oxygen-poor atmosphere. This is why alpacas have far more red blood cells than other mammals.
Standing only 90 centimeters at the shoulder and weighing no more than 65 kilograms, the alpaca is noticeably smaller than the llama. It is also friendlier to humans than its larger cousins, which are known to not only spit at each other in anger but at humans as well. The alpaca rarely, if ever, spits at people.
In such a difficult terrain and climate, communication is very important for the alpacas. They are known to shriek when they find themselves in the face of danger. Males have a bird-like scream when fighting. When relaxed, alpacas click or cluck at one another. They even hum when feeling comfortable and contented!
Though wild alpacas are uncommon, domesticated ones number in the millions. Hopefully, the alpaca will be around well into the future.
Ans: 1. A 2. C 3. D 4. B