Alpacas are members of the camelid family, meaning they are related to both types of camels, dromedary and Bactrian, as well as to llamas. The ancestors of alpacas and llamas first appeared on the great plains of North America. Some migrated south, and eventually camelids were extinct in North America. In South America, they took up residence along the western coast of the continent, mostly in the foothills and heights of the Andes Mountains. There, both llamas and alpacas were domesticated. In fact, neither animal now survives in the wild, although their cousins, vicunas and guanacos, still live the wild life in the mountains.