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New Bactrian camel can now be seen at Franklin Park Zoo

 CamelmontageThe new female Bactrian camel, who just turned a year old, will make her home in the camel exhibit located across from the bongo and red river hog exhibit (see video of her exhibit introduction below). Franklin Park Zoo is also home to Gulliver, a 22-year-old male Bactrian camel. In celebration of the new camel’s arrival, the public is invited to submit name suggestions on Franklin Park Zoo’s Facebook page December 14 – 18. The person who submits the winning name will receive a Family membership to Zoo New England.

“We are thrilled to welcome this female Bactrian camel to Franklin Park Zoo,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “These animals are amazingly adapted to weather extremes, and visitors will be able to see the camels all winter long as their thick, woolly coats keep them well insulated.”

Due to her size, the new camel has not yet been introduced to Gulliver, who weighs more than 1,800 pounds. Females are full grown at three to four years of age. The new female camel currently weighs 569 pounds.

Found in isolated areas of the Gobi desert in Mongolia and China, Bactrian camels are built for harsh climates with temperature extremes. The camels’ thick woolly winter coat sheds in clumps as the weather warms in the spring, and their skin is black to prevent sunburn. These animals’ long eyelashes and ear hairs help to block blowing sand, and they can also seal their nostrils to keep sand out. Their wide padded feet prevent them from sinking in the sand. Bactrian camels can run at speeds of 10 to 20 miles per hour.

Zoo New England has supported the Wild Camel Protection Foundation, which protects the critically endangered wild camel and its habitat in the fragile and unique desert ecosystems in the Gobi and Gashun Gobi deserts of north-west China and south-west Mongolia. There are fewer than 1,000 wild camels left, separated into three different areas.

Learn more about Bactrian camels.