The animals of Peru are an essential part of Peruvian culture and I feel they deserve to be recognized. Not only do they play an important role in tradition, they have great economic importance. Fiber from llamas and alpacas are valuable for textiles. The llamas at Machu Picchu are a major tourist attraction. While llamas will always be my favorite, viscachas also have a special place in my heart. Related to the chinchilla, a popular exotic pet in the US, these squirrel-like creatures roam freely in Peru.
Dogs are a favorite pet of Peruvians, which is apparent from the large population of stray dogs that occupy the streets. One befriended me one early morning in Cusco while we were waiting for the bus. After rejecting my offer of a granola bar, he fell asleep at my feet. It was hard to leave him not knowing what his future would hold. I knew he would probably never find a “forever home” and a family to love him.
Cats are not as common, except in some parts of Lima where the cats wandered near John F. Kennedy park.
When we visited the terraces of Moray, an offering was made to the Pachamama. I asked for the protection of the animals of Peru, domestic and wild alike. While I highly enjoyed visiting the animals of Peru, I missed my pets greatly and was happy to return to my two dogs, cats and chinchillas.