A young Bactrian camel born at Lee Richardson Zoo in March 2012 departed early morning Monday, March 11th on a trailer bound for her new home in Des Moines, Iowa. Staff from the Blank Park Zoo traveled to Garden City to pick up Tuya, who will be exhibited there with a young male Bactrian. Tuya (Mongolian for “ray of light”) was born to LRZ’s breeding pair Khan and Mona on March 8th. She was their eighth calf, and at one year old was almost as big as her mother. Bactrian camels weigh between 1,000 and 1,800 pounds and can reach seven feet tall in height.
Only 600-900 endangered Bactrian camels are thought to be left in the wild. Superbly adapted to the harsh extremes of life in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, they can tolerate temperatures from -16°F to 120° F. A shaggy winter coat protects them from both cold and heat, but is generally shed in the summer. They can go ten months without drinking water if green vegetation and dew are available. Excess energy in the form of fat is stored in their hump, and is depleted when food is scarce or unavailable.