The St. Louis Zoo is playing a critical role in preserving the critically endangered Bactrian camel species with their latest birth. The male calf, born to parents Minnie and Elvis, is a promising addition to the camel herd, and is expected to reach an adult weight of 1,600-1,800 lbs. Bactrian camels are known for their ability to carry people across the deserts of the Middle East and Africa, but their origins trace back to North America, from where they migrated across the Bering Strait.
According to a press release from the St. Louis Zoo, the male Bactrian camel named Eli was born on March 11, 2010, weighing 98 pounds. Eli can currently be seen with his parents and the rest of the camel herd at Red Rocks. Baby camels are born with two humps, but at birth, these lay flat against their sides until they can store up energy-rich fat.
Bactrian camels are native to Mongolia in central Asia and are critically endangered in the wild. These animals can survive long periods without water, and the energy-rich fat stored in their humps enables them to endure long periods without food. The gestation period for camels lasts for 11 months, and calves are usually born between March and April. Additionally, Bactrian camels completely shed their thick, dark winter coat in the spring, leaving them almost hairless during the hot summer months.
Domesticated Bactrian camels have played a crucial role in the transportation and trade of goods in the deserts of Asia and Africa for centuries, and it is essential that efforts are made to preserve the wild Bactrian camel population.