Wild Bactrian Camels – Camelus ferus
YWP is proud to have eleven Bactrian camels, with Baxter, the latest addition brought in as a new breeding male into the herd. In the wild, camels will live in herds of 6 – 22 individuals.
The true wild Bactrian camel (much of the camel population in zoos and parks has a domestic camel influence and is not truly wild) has evolved independently from other camels so it is a distinct species and is in need of protection. They are only found in the deserts of Mongolia and China and there is thought to be less than a thousand left surviving in this harsh environment.
To live in this unforgiving habitat the wild Bactrian camel has evolved some remarkable adaptations which you can see by looking at our own camels. Probably their most noticeable adaptation is their two big humps, which contrary to popular belief do not store water but store fat as a reserve for when food is scarce, as their fat is depleted their humps become floppy.
Another adaptation that you may see (if you come often enough) is their fur coat, because temperatures vary so much in their habitat (38°C in the summer and -29°C in the winter) they can grow thick coats in the winter and shed their coats ready for the summer.
Wild Bactrian camel’s are critically endangered in the wild due to hunting for meat and their hide, loss of habitat through farming and mining, and loss of their water holes for domestic animal use.
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