Introducing Tuya and Nicolai: Blank Park Zoo's Bactrian Camels

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Introducing Tuya and Nicolai: Blank Park Zoo's Bactrian Camels


The Zoo’s two new Bactrian camels, Nicolai (male) and Tuya (female) were recently introduced to their new exhibit, just inside the entrance of the Zoo! Often times, you will find the two of them very close to each other standing right outside of their building. Nicolai and Tuya are acclimating to their new exhibit very well and are exploring their exhibit a little bit more each day.


As an accredited zoo by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Blank Park Zoo is able to acquire animals from other AZA zoos. Tuya, about 2 years old, was brought to Blank Park Zoo from the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas. This same process was also used to get Nicolai, about 5 years old, from the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, North Dakota.

These domestic Mongolian camels, unique by their two humps, can endure the extreme temperatures of Iowa’s summer and winter months. As you can see from the pictures, they are enjoying the snow! They can survive the change in temperature due to the fat stored in their two humps. On average, Bactrian camels are 7 feet tall (at the top of their humps), and the males can weigh over 2,000 pounds (females are a little smaller).

The new camel holding features inside and outside stalls, a heated rubber floor and a large exhibit yard for them to roam. The holding also has a sand pit for the camels to take dust baths, two cement pads for feeding hay, and a year-round drinker, which is water that has a heating element.


In the upcoming months, Blank Park Zoo will be obtaining a new young Bactrian camel, which will be joining Nicolai and Tuya out in the new exhibit.  Long-term plans for the exhibit include adding a new animal, likely a large bird, in addition to breeding Nicolai and Tuya as part of the Species Survival Plan – it will be in a few years when they are both of breeding age.

We are excited to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for you to enjoy the camels year-round. Thank you to our generous donors for enabling this to happen. Next time you visit, make sure to say hello to Nicolai and Tuya!


01/07/2014 2:11 PM |Add a comment
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