Please be advised that the zoo is closing at 1pm on Saturday June 2nd to set up for Wine in the Wilderness

New Male Bactrian Camel

January 27, 2017


$12,743.85 raised! Donate $25 or more before 5pm on March 3rd and be entered to win a Utica Zoo Family Membership or renewal.

Goal: $14,998

Utica, NY – Utica Zoo has acquired a 7-year-old male Bactrian camel from Ohio. The new male camel has joined 11-year-old female Najla, whose companion, Nigel, passed away in September of 2016. Najla and the new male serve as ambassadors to their counterparts in the wild who are critically endangered.

“Camels, by nature, are social animals. It was important to the Utica Zoo to get Najla a camel companion. We were very lucky that we found an available male. His acquisition was made possible through a coordinated effort with an AZA-(Associations of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited institution,” said Pearl Yusuf, Director of Animal Operations.

Acquiring a male Bactrian camel does not come at a low cost, and purchasing a new animal is not part of the annual operating budget. (Most of zoos’ transactions are based on loans from other zoos.) Utica Zoo spent $13,000 on acquisition fees and $1,998 for transportation from Ohio, totaling $14,998. The zoo is looking for donations from the community to help cover the costs. If you are interested in donating, please click on the Donate button at the top or bottom of this page. You can also mail your donations to Utica Zoo, 1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica, NY 13501. If you or your business is interested in naming (limited time offer) or signage opportunities, please call Development Coordinator Audra Acey at (315) 738-0472, or email

Bactrian camels are critically endangered in the wild, one step away from extinct, with fewer than 950 individuals estimated in wild areas of Northwest China and Mongolia (according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources – IUCN). Camels currently in zoos are considered more domestic relatives of their wild counterparts. However, these ambassadors are needed to represent their wild cousins and tell the story of their fight for survival. It is estimated that the population of wild camels could fall over 80% in the next 50 years. Your support shows your commitment to important wildlife conservation, promotion of good animal welfare, and possibly an enhancement of breeding efforts.

Bactrian camels are one of the species that are included in the Utica Zoo’s new Master Plan. According to the map below, it is the zoo’s goal to move Bactrian camel to the section labeled AR7. AR7 is currently home to peafowl and located directly across from the Transcaspian Urial. In order to move the camels to the new location, the current barn structure is being expanded, and a new barn will be built in the future. The new exhibit will expand both the indoor and outdoor areas for the camels, and have improved landscaping. It will also feature better viewing areas for visitors to see the camels, and it will incorporate easier access for keeper talks and camel encounters. Call the Utica Zoo today if you would like to help sponsor the new barn (315) 738-0472.

Asian Realm section of the Utica Zoo’s Master Plan.

New male Bactrian camel on the left and female Najla on the right.

For more information about the Utica Zoo’s Master Plan, and a full version of the map, go to

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