Baby camel born is latest in string of zoo newborns - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Baby camel born is latest in string of zoo newborns

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The calf weighed  68 pounds and was 3 feet tall at birth and has not yet been named. (Photo Source: Memphis Zoo) The calf weighed 68 pounds and was 3 feet tall at birth and has not yet been named. (Photo Source: Memphis Zoo)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - A recent baby boom at the Memphis Zoo has staff members and visitors excited.

A 68 pound, 3-foot tall camel, yet to be named, is just the most recent in a series of births at the zoo.

"Oh yes, they're cute ... very, very cute. The kids love them. The kids absolutely love the babies," said zoo visitor Nancy Torres.

The baby calf was born Thursday, June 12, after a gestation of 13 months to parents "Mona Lisa" and "Solomon." Mona Lisa was pregnant when she arrived last year, and Solomon is currently in Missouri.

The baby camel's birth is the latest in a string of new births at the Memphis Zoo. Back in February, two meerkat babies, Billy and Rico, were born. In April, a baby bonobo named "Mpingo " was born, and in May a giraffe was born to his 21-year-old mother, Marilyn.

"We've had a little bit of a baby boom this last spring and early summer," said Memphis Zoo Director of Animal Programs Matt Thompson.

In addition to these four births since February, there are also baby stingrays swimming around the waters of Stingray Bay.

The zoo's Matt Thompson says visitors especially like to see the parents interacting with the newborns.

"We're always excited for babies. To us, that means happy, healthy animals and, of course, our visitors love to see babies as well," he said.

The zoo also says they'll soon be in the process of starting a naming campaign for their newest addition belonging to camel mother, Mona Lisa.

Mother and calf are doing well and can already be seen on exhibit at the Camel Excursion area at the east end of the Zoo.

"Similar to giraffes, the most important things we look for are the calf's ability to stand as well as nurse," said Matt Thompson, director of animal programs. "He is already walking and has nursed several times."

The gestation of camels ranges from 12 to 14 months. Within 30 minutes of birth, a baby camel can walk beside its mother. Calves usually spend up to 18 months nursing from their mothers.

There are two species of camels: bactrian and dromedary. The mother and baby are both dromedary. This species, sometimes called Arabian camels, is distinguished by their one hump, while bactrian camels have two.

To see photos of the new babies born at the zoo so far this year, click here: http://bit.ly/1vStHCc 

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