Is this the cutest baby you've seen this spring?
PUBLISHED: 15:45 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 28 March 2018
Easter may be dominated by chicks, lambs and bunnies, but this baby camel could be stealing the show at a Norfolk zoo.
A warm welcome to one of the newest – and fluffiest – spring arrivals at Banham Zoo.
Lucy, one of the south Norfolk zoo’s domestic Bactrian camels, has given birth to a strapping male calf who should be out and about, weather permitting, for Easter holiday visitors to ooh and ahh over.
His happy arrival ended months of ‘is she or isn’t she’ debate among the zookeepers with some sure she was pregnant and others not convinced.
The birth is particularly special for the zookeepers who work with the camels at Banham as it is the last calf sired by Ghengis, the zoo’s previous adult male camel, before he was donated to another UK zoo last year.
Animal manager, Mike Woolham says: “We were sad to see Genghis depart but moving animals between zoos is quite common. There was a lot of discussion amongst the keepers regarding whether Lucy was pregnant or not as the dates were pretty tight but those that worked closely with her were pretty convinced and have been proved correct.”
“So it seems that Genghis did leave us with a very welcome gift before he departed to his new home,” adds Mike.
Lucy was closely monitored by her keepers after going into labour during the afternoon of March 19 and she gave birth that evening.
The male calf has yet to be given a name and after a few days bonding with his mother he will now be introduced to the zoo’s other female camel, Scrummy, and can be seen inside the camel house.
Keepers expect, weather permitting, mum and baby to be exploring the main paddock over the Easter holiday.
The birth is more exciting news for Banham Zoo, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, following the arrival of five Californian sea lions and the opening of their large enclosure Sea Lion Bay earlier this month.
Although the camels housed at the zoo are of the domestic variety, their wild counterparts from China and Mongolia are considered a Critically Endangered species with less than 1000 animals currently living in the wild.
The zoo regards its domestic camels as valuable ambassadors for their wild counterparts and the additional interest that the new calf will inevitably create will, they hope, provide more focus on the conservation efforts currently underway to protect their wild cousins.