In 2008, the Schneider Group started a new conservation initiative in Argentina at 4,000 meters above sea level close to Belen in Catamarca Province in the Northern Andes, where vicunas have lived for centuries.
The Group acquired ca. 100,000 hectares of a beautiful wild mountain area located inside a vast natural reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera de Laguna Grande), which stretches for over 650,000 hectares.
Before the Schneider Group took over management of the site and established Sanin, the company that handles it, vicunas were poached for their precious fibres to the point that they were close to extinction. Now, thanks to a joint effort between the local community, the local government and the Schneider Group, the project has brought vicunas back to healthy numbers from under 800 to over 5,000. This is possible also thanks to our staff that patrols the land to protect animals from poaching.
Animals live wild in the mountains and once a year our team of highly specialised shearers, mainly comprising local staff trained over the years, gathers vicunas around their natural water sources and shears them under the strict supervision of the local veterinary authorities, who certify that animals are handled with the highest care and document every step of the process. The precious fibre is then manually dehaired locally and exported to our Italian mill, the only facility worldwide where dehairing can take place to the highest quality standards.
Everyone benefits. We help secure and improve the local community’s livelihood, producing the finest and most delicate of all animal fibres in the world and protecting an endangered species.