Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago has been making headlines for naming its baby Bactrian camel Alexander Camelton, in honor of our own Mr. Hamilton. The naming announcement, made earlier this week by the zoo, has drawn attention from across the nation. Reuters describes the month-old baby camel as a “social media star.” According to Chicago Tonight, there are fewer than 1,000 Bactrian camels living in the wild and the species is classified as critically endangered. Camelton’s birth was the first successful camel birth at the zoo in 16 years!
The zoo’s official birth announcement, on May 18, 2016 stated:
Lincoln Park Zoo is proud to announce a baby Bactrian camel! The new arrival made its official debut on May 18, but it actually entered the world in a public manner on May 9, with mom Nasan giving birth in the species’ outdoor yard at the Antelope & Zebra Area.
The camel calf spent the time between bonding with mom behind the scenes but will now be visible with the rest of the herd, which includes its parents and two additional adult females. The little one is the first successful offspring for Nasan and her mate, Scooter, and is also the first camel calf born at Lincoln Park Zoo since 1998.
While the baby was 4 feet tall and 81 pounds at birth, adult Bactrian camels can reach 7 feet in height and weigh up to 1,500 pounds. The species’ thick, brown coat changes with the seasons; in winter it thickens to provide insulation while large chunks of fur are shed in the summer months. Both male and female Bactrian camels have two large humps on their backs (as opposed to one-humped dromedary camels) that serve as a reservoir for energy-rich fat that the camel can metabolize if food is scarce in the wild.