At the Detroit Zoo
Female Suren and male Rusty (both born in 2008) and their son, Humphrey, born in the spring of 2014, can be seen roaming their Asian Forest habitat across from the Horace H. Rackham Memorial Fountain, along with the Przewalski's horses and white-lipped deer. Suren, whose name derives from the Mongolian word meaning majestic, arrived in 2008 from the Minnesota Zoo. She is described as motherly and sweet. Rusty arrived one year later from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. He is easily excited and prances when happy.
The Bactrian camel stands about seven feet tall at the humps and weighs up to 1,600 pounds at maturity. Contrary to popular belief, camels store fat – not water – in their humps, providing energy when food is limited. Bactrian camels are well-suited for Michigan's climate and can survive in temperatures ranging from -20 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. On many days, there are more visitors at the Zoo than there are wild Bactrian camels in the world.
The Bactrian camel is well adapted to survive in a wide range of temperatures and climates. It has large feet which allow it to walk without sinking into sand. Two rows of long, thick eyelashes protect its eyes from blowing dust and debris, and slit-like nostrils can be closed during sandstorms.
Scientific name: Camelus bactrianus
Continent: China and Mongolia in central Asia
Habitat: Rocky mountain ranges, plains and sand dunes; the species inhabits the arid Gobi and Gashun Gobi Deserts.
Size: 7 feet tall at the humps
Weight: Up to 1,600 pounds
Diet: As an herbivore, the Bactrian camel consumes vast amounts of vegetation. Its humps store fat, allowing it to go for long periods of time without consuming food. It is also able to go for long periods without water, drinking up to 15 gallons at one time.
Reproduction: Gestation 12 to 14 months; single calf
Lifespan: 18 years
Conservation Status: Critically Endangered. Conservation efforts are currently in place in the Gobi and Gashun Gobi Deserts of Mongolia and China where several wild Bactrian camels still remain.