• To give back to the country of Peru for their gift of alpacas to the US and other countries in the world.
• To make a positive difference in the lives of herders and townspeople of Nunoa, Peru
• To address immediate needs through humanitarian aid and veterinary support for the animals in the region.
• To exchange information and preserve the rural traditions of herding for future generations in Nunoa.
• To establish self sustaining programs in the areas of: support for underprivileged children and herding families, veterinary assistance for livestock, and tourism for the Nunoa area.
Nunoa (pronounced Nunyoa) is about halfway between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca on the high slopes of the eastern Andes above 13,000 feet in elevation. The Nunoa River that flows through town comes, in part, from the Quilccaya Glacier, the largest in the tropics. The town has about 7000 residents who speak Quechua and Spanish, the district (comparable to a county) has a population of about 14,000. About a third of the households in the district are impoverished and hence have difficulties meeting their basic needs.
Grazing land in the Nunoa District is some of the best on the Altiplano and the alpaca density the highest. As such the town prides itself as the suri capital of the world. Most small herders have alpacas (yes, huacayas too), llamas, sheep, some cattle, and several horses. While principally herders, most households raise potatoes, other tubers, and Andean cereals (quinoa and canihua).
This is a community where I and others have carried out anthropological research for over 40 years. In the course of our work we have befriended many, become god-parents to quite a few, and have helped in a number of ways winning the trust of the community. The opportunity to further reciprocate for the cooperation and generosity shown over the years came several years ago when Dr Steve Purdy first arrived at UMass to set up the Camelid Studies Program. Being interested in understanding the background of the alpacas and how they were herded by Andean natives it was easy to convince him that Nunoa was the place he had to see.
On our first trip Steve brought several animal science students, an alpaca breeder, and a fellow alpaca veterinarian, Cheryl DeWitt. We stayed in a small orphanage that supported joyous and inquisitive children, and toured the countryside talking with herders and inspecting their alpacas. So impressed were we all with the need of small herders for veterinary service, and with the potential of linking this effort to the understaffed and underfunded orphanage, that we started planning how we might help fulfill a number of community needs. Thanks to Dr. Purdy’s enthusiasm and a sense of obligation to give back to Andean herders - whose ancestors gave us the alpacas and llamas - a number of friends and colleagues were contacted, and they have provided their time and talents in getting our organization going.
The Nunoa Project is a public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are fully tax deductible.
CONOPA - INSTITUTE OF CAMELID RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
CONOPA is a Peruvian non-profit organization dedicated to scientific research and extension in South American camelids.
The Nunoa Project Represented at Spring Alpaca Shows
Nunoa Project was represented by President Dr. Steve Purdy at the following shows this spring:
North American Alpaca Show, West Springfield MA (look for Dr. Purdy and North American Camelid Studies Program students in red jackets and hats working at the show!)- April 4-6.
MAPACA Jubilee, Harrisburg PA- April 26 and 27
Northeast Alpaca Expo, Syracuse NY- May 4
Dr. Purdy presented a seminar at each show concerning the ongoing important work being done with Peruvian alpaca farmers this year (more info here). Thank you to all of the show organizers for the opportunity to represent Nunoa Project and for donating exhibitor space and a show book advertisement.
Nunoa Project also thanks the following shows and organizations for donating advertising space to introduce our work to alpaca owners.
Alpaca Ontario Spring Show, Orangeville Ontario - April 13 & 14
Suri Network Summer Symposium, Estes Park, Colorado, August 15-17