ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – It’s the perfect time to visit the Detroit Zoo as a floofy new resident makes her debut.
Visitors to the zoo in Royal Oak can now have a look at Rusi, a baby Bactrian camel — born on July 31 to 9-year-old parents Suren and Rusty.
Although she’s only a bit over a week old, Rusi is already on the move in the camel habitat across from the Horace H. Rackham Memorial Fountain. Camels are born after a gestation period of 12 to 14 months, and a newborn calf is able to stand and walk alongside its mother in as little as 30 minutes, according to the zoo.
This is the second calf for the proud camel parents of Rusi’s big brother, 3-year-old Humphrey.
“Rusi is finding her footing and is curious about her new surroundings. Like most newborns, she spends a lot of time napping and nursing,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). “Suren is an attentive mother and is keeping a close eye on her new little one.”
Rusi weighed 125 pounds at birth and currently stands more than 4 feet tall on long, slender legs. Her coat is soft and gray but will eventually grow thick and coarse as it changes to a sandy brown. A camel’s humps are limp at birth, consisting mostly of skin and hair. When Rusi reaches about 6 months old, her humps will become more defined as they fill with fat — not with water, contrary to what you may have heard.
(Note that Bactrian camels have two humps, compared to dromedary camels, which have only one).
While the Bactrian camels at the Detroit Zoo are domestic, they are critically endangered in the wild, numbering fewer than a thousand in Central and East Asia. “On many days, there are more visitors at the Zoo than there are wild Bactrian camels in the world,” Carter said.
The DZS supports the Wild Camel Protection Foundation, the only charitable environmental foundation in the world with the exclusive objective to protect the critically endangered wild Bactrian camel and its habitat in the Gobi Desert.
Get complete Detroit Zoo information, including hours and ticket prices, at this link.