Humpy birthday to you
Wednesday 4 May 2005
Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is celebrating the birth of not one, but two Bactrian camels. The male calf Elliot and a female calf Easter can be found in the Passage through Asia
The youngsters are approximately four feet tall, and have shaggy grey coats. They will suckle until they are about one and a half years old and will reach their full height in around five years.
Bactrian camels are now extremely rare, once widely distributed through the Gobi and into China, numbers have been declining for 50 years due to competition for food and water with livestock, new roads cut through their once-isolated domain, and hunting. Domestic forms are still important to local communities in Mongolia for food and clothing.
Bactrian camels have two humps which consist of fatty tissues and provide an energy reserve and they originate from the Mongolian steppe. Camels have a number of adaptations to hep them survive in the desert including a thick coat that allows them to bear the extremely low winter temperatures in winter as well as slit-like nostrils and long eyelashes to keep dust and sand out of their eyes and nose.