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Beasties make big business.

Depending on where you live, you can buy an alpaca and have it shipped to you from Chile for under US$900. According to the Research and Budget Division of Chile's Undersecretariat of Agriculture, 273 alpacas were shipped overseas in 1989, at a total cost of US$243,789, or US$893 per animal.

The alpacas were relatively few in number compared to other animals, birds, reptiles and insects exported from Chile during 1989. In all, the Research and Budget Division reports that during the first nine months of the year, 89,185 Ilamas, penguins, lizards, snakes, frogs, rats, iguanas, scorpions, turtles and other animals were shipped out of the country. Some were purchased for reproduction, some for exhibit in zoos and others as pets and mascots. These figures don't include some 3,000 lambs and 31,000 sheep exported for breeding purposes, or 126 racehorses, saddle horses, jumpers and polo ponies bound for foreign destinations. On the avian side, more than 3 million birds--including goldfinches, blackbirds, finches and hummingbirds, as well as 644,423 day-old chickens--valued at US$1.7 million were sent abroad. Even insects such as grasshoppers and centipedes got in on the act, with 164,011 sold to foreigners, at an average price of US$0.02 each.

According to Hugo Quezada and Sergio Bustamante, co-founders of Dromiciops Exports and Chile's first animal exporters, the foreign trade in reptiles and insects started in 1984 with shipments to Denmark. Shortly thereafter, markets for Chilean animals opened up in other European countries, the United States, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

In recent months the Servicio Agricola y Ganadero (SAG), Chile's agricultural agency, has tightened regulations governing the export of cameloids such as Ilamas and alpacas. These animals and similar species are now subject to inspection and quarantine prior to shipment abroad. With regard to protective measures for other exported species, SAG ensures that health regulations of the country of destination and requisite vaccinations are met before granting the necessary export certifications.
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Title Annotation:animals from Chile
Author:Goethals, Henry
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:Mar 1, 1990
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