Idaho Falls Zoo welcomes baby camel to the herd

Idaho Falls

IDAHO FALLS — Ever seen a baby camel? Now you can at the Idaho Falls Zoo. The Zoo staff was excited to welcome the birth of a female Bactrian camel calf on Nov. 16.

On the day of the birth, a zookeeper noticed the adult female behaving a bit differently.

“I told the keeper that she was displaying calving behavior, but since she and the bull were so young that seemed unlikely. Needless to say, we were all pleasantly surprised a short time later,” interim Zoo Superintendent Linda Beard said.

A veterinarian was notified that same day, and a short while later Beard along with the animal doctor delivered the baby camel.

In honor of Star Wars the zoo staff named her ZooBacca, or Zowie for short. According to a release from the city of Idaho Falls Mother of the calf, Zazu was interested in her baby but didn’t have enough milk supply to feed it. As a result Zowie is being bottle fed.

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In the wild camels typically reproduce by the age of five and Bactrian camels are pregnant for 13 months.

The mother camel arrived at the Idaho Falls Zoo as a bottle-raised newborn in 2011. The father Gobi came to the zoo at two and a half and is almost 4 years old. Beard says camels in captivity are able to reach sexual maturity earlier than normal because they have access to a plentiful food source and excellent care.

Zowie is currently in great health and growing fast. She is in a holding area next to her parents, and staff hopes to join the camel family in an exhibit later this spring or summer.

The exhibit will officially open April 9., and zoo staff is also planning to do something for baby ZooBacca on May 4., Star Wars day.

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