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Rare Bactrian camel calves born in UK and Hungarian zoos

Adult bactrian camel at Shangai Zoo
Adult bactrian camel at Shangai Zoo
Wikimedia Commons

The Budapest Zoo is pleased to introduce its new baby Bactrian camel Ilias to the public. Born April 9, to 8-year old mother Iris (and an unnamed male from the Hungarian Zoo in Misolc), Ilias is the second wild Bactrian camel (an endangered species) to be born in Europe this year. The first, a female, came into the world just over two weeks earlier in March 20th at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, England.

“We are all delighted at the birth of the camel calf. On Mother’s Day she stayed extremely close to her mum Lottie as she finds her way in the outside world. She is already growing fast but is bound to be extremely popular this Easter,” stated Park Director Cheryl Williams saying:

Despite its name, the majority of the world’s wild Bactrian camels are domesticated, although small herds of (between 800 and 900) feral camels still live in the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts of Mongolia and China, as well as the Mangystau Province of southwest Kazakhstan and the Kashmir valley, as well as in Australia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has included them on its “red list” of threatened species since 2002.

Recognized by its two humps, as opposed to the one-humped dromedary and woolly coats, Bactrianas stand an average of 5.9-7.5-feet at the shoulder and can weight anywhere from 660-2,000 lbs, making them the largest mammals in their native territories. Babies come into the world weighing about 79 lbs at birth, and are able to stand and run shortly after birth. Calves are nursed for about 18 months,although they generally remain with with their mothers for 3-5, until they reach sexual maturity. Life expectancy for those in captivity is approximately 20-40 years, although some have been known to live as long as 50 years.