After 343 days of waiting, Sabancaya was ready to deliver her cria, whom we named Urcunina. “Caya” had been in a separate paddock with Windflower for the last part of her pregnancy so that she could have better grazing. But I moved her into the paddock with the rest of the girls at noon on August 18. Immediately the birthing process began, and within five minutes, even before Caya could walk outside into the pasture, the new cria, affectionately called “Nina”, and weighing 32 pounds was lying on the dirt ground within the stall.The following set of pictures taken by Michael Biondo http://michaelbiondo.com/ during the first 30 minutes following Nina’s birth gives some details of the care and nurturing that a llama family gives to the newborn cria.
Especially interesting is the high level of interest and intimate relationships established by Nina’s sisters Riti, “Gualla”, and “Parina” right from the start. These sisters, as well as her mom, hovered over the newborn, cleaned the encasing birth sac, helped her to stand and protected her from any inferred harmful influence from the outside (the spectators). Because the process was so rapid, we viewed the entire gradual transformation from: a still bundle lying limp in the dirt, to Nina in her first cushing position, to her tentative wobbly standing, to her first steps. Rather remarkable at the end of the birthing sequence is the slow emission of the placenta that appears like a blue translucent football dangling by a thin cord from Caya with Nina at her side.
The birth took place during our family reunion so that three generations of our family were inside the stall within 10 to 15 feet of the cria. We all were able to closely observe the entire marvelous process. The pictures below take you though the 30 minute process in sequence and the last image shows you how Nina appeared less than 24 hours after her birth.