BUSINESS: All Things Alpaca Ecuador (ATAE)
CITY: Ecuador
Country: Ecuador
Since 2004 All Things Alpaca Ecuador has offered fine alpaca textiles (sweaters for children and adults, scarves, dog sweaters, blankets and throws), a variety of yarns, horseback riding items (wooly chaps, saddle blankets, over-saddle pads {cojines}) and organic alpaca fertilizer. Currently available are yarns, blankets, chaps and fertilizer.

All Things is a family enterprise headed by Patricia Espadero Ponce, Cuencana, veterinarian and mother of three. Patricia attends to the design, production and sale of alpaca items. She uses no additives, adherents or other tricks of the spinning trade to make the yarn attractive at the moment of sale, but that would compromise its ability to age gracefully as it is used and washed. Natural colors dominate the All Things pallet.

The fiber for textile production comes entirely from the family’s alpaca herd of 600 head, managed by Patricia’s husband, Stuart White. The alpaca pastures cover about 70 hectares, but only form 4% of the Mazar Wildlife Reserve (MWR), Patricia and Stuart’s privately owned and managed conservation area in the mountains of southern Ecuador. In Spanish it is know locally as the Reserva de Vida Silvestre Mazar.

The MWR protects an intact wild fauna, including various species threatened or in danger of extinction. Mammals registered to date include Andean bear, puma, two species of spotted forest cat, two of opossum, two of bats, two and possibly three of deer, mountain tapir, mountain paca, coati, agouti, wild guinea pig, fish-eating rat, rabbit and Andean fox. At least 11 species of frogs have been inventoried, with 4 of these new to science, and over 160 species of birds. The natural vegetation is montane forest up to 3200 m elevation, and bunch-grass páramo above. The forests are extremely diverse, with as many as 60 tree species in a single hectare—one of the most diverse forests described in Ecuador for its elevation. The Fundación Cordillera Tropical (, a dynamic local conservation NGO, has sponsored much of the research carried out on the Mazar Wildlife Reserve, and continues to inventory and monitor vegetation cover, wild fauna, and hydrology. These efforts have contributed to placing the Mazar Wildlife Reserve among the best-studied private reserves in Ecuador.

Proceeds from the sale of alpaca breeding stock and alpaca items through All Things Alpaca Ecuador will permit continued investigation and protection of the wild habitats of the MWR. In the medium term, Patricia and Stuart hope to generate a model of conservation for properties that combine agriculturally productive areas with wild habitat. They count their blessings for living in such a stupendous landscape, and are energized by the alpacas that help them keep it pristine.