Apple Valley, MN – April 9, 2009: The Minnesota Zoo’s first two Bactrian camel calves of the season, “Samara” and “Sarah,” both female, are making their public debut together on the Northern Trail this morning.
Samara, born March 13, weighed 98 pounds at birth; Sarah, born April 2, also weighed 98 pounds. Both calves were not exhibited until recently to ensure that they were gaining weight,nursing, and able to maneuver around their exhibit.
The calves, who have different mothers, were born after a gestation period of 13 months.Female camel calves usually gain approximately 3-5 pounds per day and will reach adult size (2200-2400 pounds and eight feet tall) in 3–4 years.
Critically endangered, Bactrian camels are among the few animals native to the Gobi desert. Long eyelashes and closeable nostrils protect their eyes and lungs from blowing sand. Their humps store fat, allowing them to survive with little food for extended periods of time. Bactrian camels spend their time in groups of up to six animals in search of food and water. They also
suffer from habitat loss and domestication; fewer than 1,000 still live in the wild.