07 May 2024

Whipsnade Zoo celebrates birth of camel for first time in eight years

07 May 2024

Whipsnade Zoo has welcomed the birth of a camel calf for the first time in eight years.

The fluffy baby camel, named Sally, was born to 12-year-old mum Izzy and four-year-old dad Oakley in the early hours of April 11, after a 13-month pregnancy at the Bedfordshire zoo.

Whipsnade camel keeper George Spooner said: “Despite their reputation for being grumpy, camels are actually very patient, nurturing parents and it’s been great for us to see first-time mum Izzy attentively caring for her newborn daughter.”

Mr Spooner explained that the baby camel began walking within hours of being born.

“Sally has very long, gangly legs which she’s still getting to grips with. Visitors can spot her following her mum and dad around her vast paddock, getting to know her family,” he said.

Whipsnade Zoo’s domestic Bactrian camels act as an ambassador species for their critically endangered “cousins”, the wild camel, in Mongolia and China.

“There are only 950 wild camels left in the deserts of Mongolia and China today, due to hunting, water scarcity and predation by the grey wolf,” Mr Spooner said.

The conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) behind Whipsnade Zoo is working to protect Mongolia’s wildlife, including in the Gobi Desert, where it is believed there are only 450 wild camels, the zoo said.

“ZSL is closely involved in the wild camel project, working with conservation partners to contribute towards scientific evidence which will inform a management plan for these critically endangered animals,” Mr Spooner said.

Baby Sally and the herd of camels can be found along the Passage Through Asia at Whipsnade Zoo.

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