Welcome to Sopwith, Banham Zoo’s new baby camel

PUBLISHED: 16:04 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 01 May 2018

Elsie Dyer with dad Billy and Sopwith the young Bactrian camel. Puicture: Banham Zoo

Elsie Dyer with dad Billy and Sopwith the young Bactrian camel. Puicture: Banham Zoo

banham zoo

A famous RAF squadron is celebrated in the unusual naming of Banham Zoo’s latest baby animal – and the grand-daughter of a former serviceman is the brains behind the choice.

Three-year-old Elsie Dyer, whose parents Billy and Marie are annual pass holders at Banham Zoo, is a regular visitor and her favourite animals are the Bactrian camels.

In order to encourage Banham-based Elsie’s love of animals, the zoo offered her the chance to name the new camel – a privilege usually reserved for keepers.

Animal manager Mike Woolham said: “It’s obvious Elsie has a real soft spot for these wonderful animals.”

She was presented with a shortlist of six names and, with a little prompting from grandad Christopher “Mitch” Mitchell who spent 37 years in the RAF, Elsie opted for “Sopwith”.

Nanny Elizabeth Mitchell, who lives at Walcott, explained: “The Sopwith Camel was a First World War biplane and its name lives on in the RAF’s 45 Squadron, which my husband was in, working with Tornados at bases like Honington and Marham.”

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