Endangered species highlighted with zookeeper talks, learning activities
The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is celebrating domestic Bactrian camels Rusty, Suren, Humphrey, Rusi and Tula – as well as their wild counterparts – at the Detroit Zoo on Saturday, June 22, in honor of World Camel Day.
Guests are invited to enjoy zookeeper talks and fun learning activities during this special event that is free with Zoo admission. Talks with animal care staff will be held at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Guests will have the chance to view camel wool up close, compare their footprint to that of a camel, and play in sand reminiscent of one of the interactive elements in the camel habitat at the Zoo. They can also learn about the wild places where camels live, threats they’re facing and what the DZS is doing to help.
“While the Bactrian camels at the Detroit Zoo are domestic, wild Bactrian camels are critically endangered, numbering fewer than a thousand in Central and East Asia,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS. “On many days, there are more visitors at the Zoo than there are wild Bactrian camels in the world.”
The greatest risks Bactrian camels are facing are habitat loss due to mining and industrial development as well as hybridization with domestic camels, which threatens the fragile biodiversity of the species.
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.
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 235 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.