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Bactrian Camel
Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus.
Bactrian camel, Camelus bactrianus
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Where are they found? Asia

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There are two species of camels. The most widely known of the two is probably the one-humped camel, or dromedary (Camelus dromedarius), which is today known only as a domestic animal. The two-humped Bactrian camel still exists in a wild state in the Gobi Desert and nearby dry steppe (grassland) of China and Mongolia. Wild camels exist in conditions where the temperatures may vary from 50°C (122°F) in summer to 25 degrees or more below freezing (-13°F).

At the top of the hump, a Bactrian camel on average stands over 2 m (7 ft.) tall. They typically weigh between 600 and 1000 kg (1,320 to 2,200 lb.).

In 2001, there were between 500 and 1000 wild Bactrian camels. Survival of the species is endangered in the wild, where habitat loss continues to threaten; if access were blocked to even only one watering hole in its range, populations over a wide area would be adversely affected. Pressure from humans on its habitat has forced the last wild Bactrian camels to live in the water-poor Gobi Desert area, where often the only water available is salty. The Bactrian camel is the only mammal that is able to survive when the only water available for drinking is salt water. This is not its choice: it prefers fresh water.


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Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus. Photo: Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus.


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