Because cattle were of enormous cultural and economic importance for the Hispanic colonial economies, South America has a significant percentage of the world’s total cattle population. Hybridized cattle breeds of the highest quality, such as Herefords, Angus, and Charolais, are raised on the rich midlatitude pasturelands of the Argentine Pampas and in Uruguay. Much of the Llanos of northern South America is given over to the grazing of Brahman (Zebu) crosses. The pastures of the Amazon basin, created in the latter part of the 20th century, consist of imported African tropical grasses, which support large herds of Brahman, Charolais, and other hybridized breeds as well as exotics such as Asian water buffalo. Stock raising also flourishes in eastern and southern Brazil and in the temperate zones of the Andes; it is pursued in nearly all environmentally suitable areas of every country.
In the higher regions of the Andes, generally above 10,000 feet, and in the colder or more arid lowland settings, cattle give way to other grazing animals. Llamas and alpacas, along with sheep and goats, are found in the higher Andes from Ecuador through northern Argentina and Chile. Vicuñas are still found at very high elevations, usually above 14,000 feet, in Peru. Sheep predominate in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, while goats prevail in the arid regions of Peru and Chile and in the drought polygon of northeastern Brazil. Pigs and smaller domestic animals like chickens are present in almost all rural areas of the continent. Within the former Inca settlement area of the Andes, extending from the far south of Colombia through northern Argentina, guinea pigs are still raised as a food source. "South America" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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