Debate amongst the zookeepers at Banham Zoo was concluded last week when Lucy, one of the zoos domestic Bactrian camels, gave birth to a strapping male calf. She was closely monitored by her keepers after going into labour during the afternoon of 19th March, eventually giving birth that evening.
The birth is particularly special for the zookeepers who work with the camels at Banham as it is the last calf sired by Ghengis, the zoo’s previous adult male camel before he was donated to another UK zoo last year.
Animal Manager, Mike Woolham said, ‘We were sad to see Genghis depart but moving animals between zoos is quite common. There was a lot of discussion amongst the keepers regarding whether Lucy was pregnant or not as the dates were pretty tight but those that worked closely with her were pretty convinced and have been proved correct’.
Mike added ‘So it seems that Genghis did leave us with a very welcome gift before he departed to his new home.’
The calf, already sexed as a male, has yet to be given a name. After spending a few days away from the public’s gaze whilst he bonded with his mother he will now be introduced to the zoo’s other female camel, Scrummy and can be seen inside the camel house, keepers expect, weather permitting, to be giving their latest arrival access to the main paddock in the coming days.
Although the camels housed at the zoo are of the domestic variety, their wild counterparts from China and Mongolia are considered a Critically Endangered species[i] with less than 1000 animals currently living in the wild. The zoo regards its domestic camels as valuable ambassadors for their wild counterparts and the additional interest that the new calf will inevitably create will, they hope, provide more focus on the conservation efforts currently underway to protect their wild cousins.