Rare Baby Camel Named Ilias, Debuts At One Of World’s Oldest Zoos

A rare baby camel named Ilias, born on April 9, made his debut today at the Budapest Zoo in Hungary. According to a report in the New Straits Times, the Budapest Zoo is one of the world’s oldest existing zoos, founded in 1866.

The rare baby camel is a wild Bactrian camel – an endangered species. Contrary to its name, most of the world’s wild Bactrian camels – scientifically known as Camelus bactrianus ferus – are domesticated. A small and endangered group of between 800 and 900 of the rare camels live in the China and Mongolia in the Gobi Desert region. The species is believed to be close to extinction in the wild.

According to an AFP report, the rare baby camel was born to an eight-year-old mother named Iris and sired by a camel from a different Hungarian Zoo in Miskolc. The report also quotes Budapest Zoo spokesman Zoltan Hanga talking about problems they had with the birth and feeding of the rare baby camel:

“When he was born there were problems, the baby was looking for milk from the mother, but as this was her first baby she had no experience. Us zookeepers had to hold down the mother and gently help the baby to feed.”

The rare baby camel named Ilias isn’t the first of his kind introduced to the world this year. The Starreported earlier this week that another rare baby camel was born on March 20 at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, United Kingdom. The rare baby camel born in Britain was not named at the time of the report, but zoo officials have indicated that its name – and the name of all animals born at the park in 2014 – will begin with the letter “G.”

The wild Bactrian camel born at Yorkshire made her debut on March 30, Britain’s Mother’s Day or Mothering Day, with her mother “Lottie.” The Star report quotes Yorkshire Wildlife Park Director Cheryl Williams saying:

“We are all delighted at the birth of the camel calf. On Mother’s Day she stayed extremely close to Lottie as she finds her way in the outside world. She is already growing fast but is bound to be extremely popular this Easter.”

Wild Bactrian camels are recognized among the top 10 most endangered large mammal species in the world. Captive breeding efforts like the one that brought us the rare baby camel named Ilias are a significant part of efforts to save the species from extinction.