Baby Camel Overcomes Challenges at Birth to Make Debut at Red River Zoo

Zookeepers enlisted the help of the Minnesota Zoo to make sure she got plasma

FARGO, N.D. —¬†On a stormy June night, a baby Bactrian Camel made her way into the world.

But soon after she was born, zookeepers noticed something was off when she tried to feed off her mother.

“They usually start to nurse within the first five to eight hours, so we were a little concerned. We wanted to give her as much time to bond with her mom as normal as the day progressed, and saw that she still wasn’t nursing,” said Erin Teravskis, the Curator at the Red River Zoo.

Camel milk has important antibodies and nutrients that allow calves to develop a proper immune system.

While trying to get the young camel to bond with her mom, zookeepers realized they needed some outside help to make the connection.

Zookeepers at the Minnesota Zoo knew just what to do.

“I talked to their curator, and she kind of advised us on maybe a feeding schedule to start with, and then really advised that we get some camel plasma into her as soon as possible,” said Teravskis.

After getting plasma from their herd of camels, zookeepers from the Minnesota Zoo went on a road trip.

“They started driving towards us, and we started driving towards them. We picked up the plasma in the middle, and then we were able to give it to the baby,” said Teravskis.

Once the baby camel got the plasma, zookeepers still had to help her find the right spot for her to feed off her mom.

But with time, the mom and daughter finally nurtured the bond.

“Well we just had to have some patience because it would have been very easy in the very beginning to say ‘this isn’t working, we’re just going to pull this baby and bottle feed her, but we really want to make sure she found out naturally that she was a camel and grow up to be a healthy adult camel herself,” said Teravskis.

Executive Director Sally Jacobson praised her team for helping the camel at a critical time .

“Just the story of the camel alone highlights the care that we take ensuring that all of our animals are happy and healthy all the time,” said Jacobson.

The Red River Zoo is collecting votes outside the camel exhibit to give the baby camel a name.

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