Adorable endangered camel born at Toledo Zoo

Zehra, a baby camel born in May at the Toledo Zoo, is an important accomplishment for a species that struggles to breed in captivity and is struggling to survive in the wild.

Toledo Zoo

She was born on a Sunday, but every day is hump day for Zehra, a rare baby camel that became the most recent addition to the Toledo Zoo in Ohio. She is a Bactrial camel, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature reports has assessed as “critically endangered.”  

Zehra, weighing in at 64 feet and standing about three feet tall, is actually small for a newborn of her species, according to the Toledo Zoo. She is currently being bottle fed and receiving blood and plasma transfusions to get her back on track after nursing complications with her first-time mother, Sasha.

Zehra’s bottle feedings will be open to the public at the end of June.

Zehra’s birth is a big deal beyond Ohio: She is the first of her subspecies, the Bactrian camel, to be born in captivity in recent history. Distinguished by their pair of humps as opposed to the more common single humped camel, the Bactrian camel faces an existential threat. 

The Bactrian camel population is believed to be under 1,000 mature specimens with a projected population decline of “at least 80 percent within the next three generations,” or 45 to 50 years. The species is threatened by herders and shepherds whose flocks compete with the species for resources, as well as hunters who target the species for sport. 

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