IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

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Biology

The wild Bactrian camel is considered by some authorities to be the ancestor of all Bactrian camels (6). Wild Bactrian camels are highly migratory, and herds will travel vast distances in search of food and water sources (4). Herds of up to 100 individuals may gather in the autumn at the beginning of the rutting season, usually in the more mountainous regions where there is a greater availability of water (4). Outside of the mating season, family groups are more common usually consisting of between 6 and 30 animals led by a dominant male (2). Gestation takes between 12 and 14 months and females usually give birth to a single young between March and April (2). Camels feed mainly on shrubs; their humps act at as a rich fat store that allows them to go for long periods without food (5). They are also able to go without water (2), but despite the common misconception this is not stored in the camels' humps. Once water is located, camels are able to drink as much as 57 litres at one time in order to replenish reserves they have lost (2). To conserve water, camels produce dry faeces and little urine and allow their body temperature to fluctuate, therefore reducing the need to sweat (5). In some areas, these camels have developed the remarkable ability of drinking salt-water slush; they are the only mammals capable of this feat (3).

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Source: ARKive

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