Staff at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster have been celebrating behind closed doors following the birth of two Bactrian camel calves during lockdown.
The youngsters were born only days apart, with the first calf, Marvin, arriving on the 10th of April to parents Elizabeth and Baxter, with second calf, Merlin, born to mum Darcey – and also Baxter – soon after.
“Both of the new calves are males and seem to be having the best time ever, enjoying the sun, bonding with their mothers, and getting to know the rest of the herd” explains Ayshea Seston, Hoofstock Team Leader.
“Bactrian camels are very family-oriented animals with strong bonds within the herd. It is clear that they are all delighted with the new additions and so are we. The gestation period is 13 months and the calves stay with their mothers for a long time. Generally, they are weaned at about 1 -2 years old and then they will stay with their mother until they are mature which is about 3-4 years for females and 5-6 years for males.
“It is great to have new babies here at the park. They create so much joy among the animals and the rangers, especially during such uncertain times.
“The weather during April has been amazing and at this time of year the park would normally be booming with visitors. The children love to see the baby animals, but it’s all strangely quiet this year due to the temporary closure of the park.
“We hope to have the park back open to visitors soon but in the meantime we need to keep each other safe. The baby camels and parents will be well looked after and are excited to meet you all.”
Wild Bactrian camels are endangered in their native habitat of the deserts of Mongolia and China. Numbers have dropped to around 1,400, with hunting, habitat loss, competition for grazing, and illegal mining activities their biggest threats.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation supports the work of the Wild Camel Foundation with fundraising, and has also assisted in the release of camels bred at a special breeding centre in Mongolia back into the wild. For further information visit: www.