A rare baby camel was born at a Budapest Zoo in Hungary on April 9, 2014. The new arrival has been named Ilias, and is reported to be doing well in his new home. The zoo is one of the oldest in the world, having been opened in 1866, and is home to many other animals in addition to the endangered wild Bactrian camel.
Even though the species is referred to as wild, these camels are, in fact, very domesticated. There are thought to be under a thousand of the endangered camels in China and the Gobi Desert. Ilias’ mother, Iris, was only eight-years-old at the time she gave birth to him; his father is from another zoo in Hungary in the city of Miskolc. A spokesman for the zoo, Zoltan Hanga, spoke to reporters about the issues the staff faced when Ilias was born:
“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.”
Ilias isn’t the only rare baby camel to be born this year. Back in March, another rare baby camel was born in the U.K. at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster. When that camel was born on March 30, the zoo’s Director, Cheryl Williams, said:
“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.”
It is hoped by animal lovers and activists that the rare baby camel born in Budapest will be joined soon by other siblings as the species battles with extinction both in captivity and in the wild. Which begs the question, will Ilias be joined by a brother or sister soon?