Our Christmas Miracle: A New Baby Camel

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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Al Ain
December 24th 2014
Published: December 29th 2014
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When we went to the Al-Ain Livestock Market, we were hoping to see camels and be a part of the local activity. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we might see a baby camel being born! It was our Christmas Miracle!

We were looking for lunch when dad yelled for us to follow him. Somehow a mother camel caught his eye as her water broke and she slipped her calf. We ran over abd saw a very confused little camel laying on the ground!

We stayed awhile and watched the baby navigate his new world. It was hard for us to adjust to how a new mother camel reacts to her new baby. The mama just stood there, not very close to her baby and just looked around. She did not clean her calf, hover near it, or even sniff it. We knew camel mothers do not clean their new babies, but it was hard to see since we are used to cattle who waste no time to nuzzle, clean and protect their newborns. If we had been hanging around a new mother cow the way we were with this new camel mother, we would have been making a trip to the hospital!

We gave the new couple some time and space and went to lunch.

We checked on them again after lunch. No change. The baby was not able to stand and had not nursed. So we gave them a little more time and space.

After a while we began to think that something needed to happen. The baby needed food and needed to get the strength to stand. We could not find anyone else who thought as we did. Most of the herdsmen were on their siesta (rest between 1-4 pm everyday). Since we could not find the owner or anyone else who might be concerned about the baby, we figured it would not offend anyone if we intervened. We tried being respectful, but seeing the baby struggle to stand and nurse was too much.

Dad grabbed the baby and helped him stand. I grabbed the mama's halter and moved her, against her wishes, toward the hungry baby. We tried to help the pair, but weren't getting the success we wanted. I went over to the herdsmen we thought were connected to the new pair and interrupted their rest. I explained the baby needed food and they didn't care.

We went to the grocery store to get some milk to put a few drops on his lips. When we returned, the gray-haired herdsman was there. FINALLY! (Dad said it was because I was so stern with his other herdsmen.)

He did the same thing we did by putting the mama near the baby and helping the baby stand. The baby tried to nurse, but did not. He did, however, find the energy to stand for several minutes and began taking some steps. Whew!

We gave them some space and watched her for awhile, but the great success was that the gray-haired herdsman moved his napping mat to the shade near the mama and baby and began keeping a close eye on them.

Our work here was done.

Additional photos below
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29th December 2014

baby camel
I wonder if this is why the baby camel mortality rate is so high? I can't think of any other animal that would be so uninterested in it's new offspring. Then again maybe this camel was just a bad mother or so uneasy in strange surroundings that she couldn't get into new mama mode.
29th December 2014

Baby camel
I'm really enjoying these posts - this baby is amazing!!!
29th December 2014

Baby Camels
I hope you're bringing another baby camel home with you! Algiers needs a "little" brother or sister. :)

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