|Marcelo Aba, DVM Ph.D.|
llamas, are the prime source of food, as well as grains. For llamas to survive in this place is very difficult. Colla or Coya are the people living there, and they were named by the Incas to mean people living in the Puna. Today over 30,000 people live there. Most people living in this area have 5 animals they call their own. To find real Coya, you need to travel high into the mountains.
Their traditions are very religious; there are churches everywhere. Pachamama is highly religious, and requires that you give everything that you receive back to Mother Earth. All belongs to God; whatever they have they do not see as a source of money. Animals exist to provide for their existence, so they take care of them.
|Strongly religious traditions|
|Harsh living conditions on the Puna|
Dr. Aba noted that this society is male dominated. You have to work with the men to get them to allow the women to engage in the help, in the new technology, the new drugs. Aba's goal is to teach them how to treat their animals with the drugs and instruments. The people have to work hard to pay back to continue having the drugs and services available to them. The goal is to make them self-sustaining and confident of trusting his people in a very closed society. Closed for centuries.
Argentine type llama, Dr. Aba cites that supplementation is almost impossible in the mountains. Moving the animals to the valley is a possible solution, but it takes 2 days to make the move, the job of the women. Today the people of the Puna have fences to keep the animals out so they can grow grass for the difficult times. Dr. Aba is also working on trying to get the people of the Puna to reduce the size of their herds. It is considered manly to have MANY animals, despite their conditions. Today, reducing the herd size is a difficult concept to teach because the men believe their neighbors will think them weak, based on herd numbers.
What does the future hold? Only time will tell. Small steps work. For Dr. Aba's complete resoures, please check below.