Bactrian camels are critically endangered in the wild and the St. Louis Zoo is helping to preserve the species with their latest birth. This shaggy little male calf, born to parents Minnie and Elvis, will reach 1,600-1,800 lbs. in adulthood! Camels are famous for carrying people across the deserts of the Middle East and Africa but they actually originated in North America and migrated across the Bering Strait.
More information from the St. Louis Zoo's press release:
A male Bactrian camel (pronounced BACK-tree-an) was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on March 11, 2010 weighing 98 pounds. Eli can be seen with his parents, Minnie and Elvis, and the rest of the camel herd at Red Rocks.
The critically endangered species is native to Mongolia in central Asia. Baby camels are born with two humps, like their parents, but at birth these lay flat against their sides until they can store up energy-rich fat.
Camels can survive without water for long periods of time, and energy-rich fat stored in their humps enables them to survive long periods without food.
Pregnancy in camels lasts for 11 months and calves are generally born in March and April. Spring is also the time when Bactrian camels completely shed their thick dark winter coat, leaving them almost hairless during the hot summer months.
Although domesticated Bactrian camels number in the millions, there are less than 1,000 wild camels left in their native range in Mongolia.