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Camelids are a designation that includes some of everyone’s favorite and most iconic critters. Indelibly tied to the history of Egypt and the Pyramids, the Camel has a strong cultural presence all throughout the Middle East. While these are the Camelids that come to mind for most people, you can’t forget their cousins the Llama! Year of the Camelid reminds us of the cultural and economic importance of these majestic animals.

History of the Year of the Camelid

In the year 2014, the Bolivian Government began the long and complicated process of petitioning the UN to get 2016 declared as the “Year of the Camelid”. Navigating their way through the difficult bureaucratic waters involved in getting a UN Resolution passed, the process had progressed all the way to achieving a draft status before it disappeared for reasons unknown. It had even made it as far as the UN’s official listing of international years, with the obvious assumption that it would pass without issue.

For reasons unknown, these noble animals were deprived of their day, instead being deposed by the International Year of Pulses. Days of the Year decided at this point that these fine creatures with their contributions to our lives and culture in the form of fiber (Alpaca and Llama Wool), dairy (Camel Butter, Yoghurt, and Milk), and labor (Camels serve as both mounts and working animals in the dry desert), deserved to be recognized. Thus was born the Year of the Camelid!

How to celebrate The Year of the Camelid

Well first and foremost get out there and learn of all the different kinds of camelids there are out there! There’s the single humped Dromedary Camel, the double humped Bactrian camel, the Alpaca, Llama, Guanaco, and many, many more! Each of these animals has contributed greatly to the cultures of which they’re a part, and nothing can honor them more than by researching and finding their place within the history of mankind.

You could also plan and host a camelid themed party, with camelid shaped cakes, camel themed gifts, even pin the tail on the camel! Everyone could be encouraged to bring a fact about a camelid that they’ve studied.

You can also join the efforts to help save the Bactrian camel, this distinctive two humped camelid is fading from the earth, and efforts to save it are critical to its survival. The Year of the Camelid is upon us, what will you do to honor this majestic beast?

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