camel

Cincinnati Zoo’s First Camel Birth in Nearly 30 Years

CINCINNATI, OH (April 25, 2012) – The 26th annual celebration of Zoo Babies, which kicks off May 1, just got a little cuter with the birth of a baby camel.  “Saarai” (pronounced “sorry”), the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s three-year-old Bactrian camel gave birth to her first calf, a boy, on Monday, April 23. The last time the Zoo celebrated a camel birth was nearly 30 years ago (1983), so this birth was much anticipated by Zoo staff.

“After nearly 30 years, it’s certainly exciting to see a baby camel again at the Cincinnati Zoo,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “This year’s Zoo Babies event promises to be one of our best ever, and the camel is sure to be among the biggest and the cutest.”

Saarai became restless early Monday morning, and keepers noticed that she wasn’t eating or behaving as normal. As the afternoon approached, she began to pace and shortly thereafter keepers noticed the first signs of active labor.  Staff blocked the outdoor exhibit off to the public and Saarai delivered the calf at 3:15 p.m. while the father, three-year-old “Humphrey,” watched from the neighboring exhibit.  Soon after delivery, Saarai began nuzzling her calf and the calf first attempted to stand around 4 p.m.  

Saarai and the calf are doing well and will remain off exhibit, spending time nursing and bonding. On Thursday, April 26, visitors can see mom and baby for the first time at 10:30 a.m.

The Zoo is asking for help in naming the baby.  Keepers have selected their top four choices (Henry, Lyn, Cain & Bogart), and the public can vote for their favorite, among the three, online at www.cincinnatizoo.org through Monday, April 30.  The winning name will be announced on Tuesday, May 1.