The GECS (South American Camelid Specialist Group) is one of more than 100 volunteer expert groups in the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Our group works along with more than 7,000 volunteers of the SSC, all working together towards achieving the vision of “A world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity”.

The GECS is comprised of around 35 specialists, actively involved in research, conservation, evaluation and program implementation relating to the sustainable use of vicuñas and guanacos in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. The Specialist Group facilitates the study of vicuñas and guanacos with a focus on population ecology, animal welfare, behavioural ecology, genetics, environmental education and rural livelihoods of local communities. There is a strong commitment inside the GECS to develop strategies for the sustainable use of these species through investigating the impacts of use on individuals and populations. Research also includes issues relating to animal welfare and socio-economic impacts on beneficiary communities.

Our joint activities include: technical advice and support to governments and international conventions; technical assistance for the preparation of national action and management plans; species status updates for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; research collaboration; improving linkages between research results and management applications; elaboration of guidelines for best practices; and dissemination of knowledge.

We hope that this website is useful to researchers, wildlife managers, students, NGO’s, wild camelid product producers and policy makers.




To promote the conservation and sustainable use of (wild) South American Camelids in their area of geographic distribution.


1. Compile, synthesize, and provide up-to-date information on the conservation status of vicuña and guanaco populations.
2. Identify threats to the conservation of guanacos and vicuñas and promote activities to reduce these.
3. Promote research related to the conservation and management of South American camelids.
4. Contribute to the development and implementation of management activities of South American Camelids that will ensure implementation of animal welfare protocols, conservation of wild populations, and benefits to local people that utilize these species in a sustainable manner.
5. Promote the creation of protected areas that are significant to the conservation of South American camelids, as well as implement effective management and conservation measures in existing protected areas.
6. Provide recommendations based on scientific data and biology of the species’ as well as inter-disciplinary research to national and international policy makers in governments and non-governmental organizations.
7. Play an active role with regard to the Convention on Conservation and Management of the Vicuña by supporting international conservation policies and sustainable management of the species.
8. Establish collaborative links with institutions and other entities involved in the
  • Government agencies in countries of distribution.
  • Local, regional, national, and international non-governmental organizations.
  • International conventions such as CITES and the Convention on the Vicuña.
  • International government agencies that reside outside of camelid distribution areas (for example, US Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Develop working relationships with institutions that finance programs relevant to the sustainable utilization and conservation of South American Camelids as well as local people that utilize them and their habitat.
  • Develop working relationships with wild camelid product producers and associations of producers.
9. Support and promote environmental education relevant to the conservation and sustainable utilization of guanacos and vicuñas.