Utica Zoo's New Camel

The Utica Zoo's new camel seems to be loving his new home, almost as much as he loves his new exhibit-mate, Najla.

"Najla had been without a companion since September, and she is really a social animal. We knew we had to add a male to her exhibit. So, this awesome male came to us from Ohio, and he joined us in late January. The introduction between the two went better than any of us could have hoped," said Andria Heath, Utica Zoo's Executive Director.

They're getting along so well, that the Utica Zoo is hoping that one day, Najla and the new camel will have a baby.

"We would love, and actually have the go ahead to have a camelette--- as I'm calling it, but it's actually a calf," said Heath.

A calf could be in the Zoo's near future.

"Male's who foam a great deal from that mouth.... that's actually exhibiting a characteristic of rutting, which means that they are in reproductive mode. The gestation period is 14 months, and if that were to happen, it wouldn't be for this summer, but hopefully for next," Heath explained.

Since the camel is around 7 years old, he already has a name that only the zoo keepers use. But Heath says it's not uncommon for zoo's to have a public name for the animal. The public can help name him.

"We have a donor opportunity to be able to name our camel. And that will be very exciting. He will be with us for a long time we hope. It could be a family name, and that name could be right here, prominent in the Asia Realm, which is the name of the area of this zoo" said Heath.

Although the Utica Zoo doesn't usually purchase animals, it has been raising money to help pay for the new camel. The Bactrian Camel is an endangered species. The Zoo is currently $3,000 shy of their $15,000 fundraising goal. The person who donates the largest amount of money will have the honor of naming the new camel.


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