In the early morning today (Mar. 22), a camel came into the world at Amersfoort Zoo. The baby nurses well and, under the care of mother Rosa, walks around in the enclosure. “After birth, it is important that the young camel is on its own feet within a few hours. In the wild, a camel is vulnerable if the animal remains on the ground,” says zookeeper Corine de Ruiter. Camels are native to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and China. “There, the wild camel is threatened with extinction. Among other things, poachers and drought reduce the survival rate of the animal. In addition, the habitat is used for livestock and industry, for example, so there is less and less land for wild camels,” explains the zookeeper.
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Camels have a gestation period of twelve to thirteen months. Soon after birth, the young eat some solid food as a supplement to the milk they drink from their mother. “Young camels then try to nibble on everything. You can see the young walking around with some tufts of hay in the mouth in about a week,” says Corine. “Camels are easy eaters, they like everything: grass, leaves, herbs and even cacti.” The zookeepers have been able to determine the sex; the young is a female and has been given the name ‘Raya’.
The camel calf can now be admired together with the rest of the camel group outside in the City of Antiquity in Amersfoort Zoo. “In any case, this newborn camel can not only be spotted now, but also occasionally heard well,” says the zookeeper enthusiastically. “Adult camels make different types of growling sounds: high bleats, loud bellows and rumbling roars. The young makes itself heard by whining loudly and high.” The newborn camel is the first spring birth in Amersfoort Zoo. Animal caretaker Corine: “Who knows, we might welcome more young animals this year.”