Wild Camel

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Monday, December 2nd, 2013

One of the wild bull camels released in September has been spotted by a ranger together with 4 wild female camels. He is showing signs of “rutting” behaviour as it is the beginning of the wild camel breeding season. This news that he has survived the release from our breeding centre at Zakhyn Us and gathered round him a small harem of female camels is excellent news.

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Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

An International Wild Camel Protection and Research Centre has been built 200 kilometers from Dun Huang in Gansu Province. This initiative has been supported by Professor Liu Shaochang of the Institute of Remote Sensing, Chinese Academy of Sciences and will serve as an international forum for scientists and wild camel experts. A growing threat to the wild camel in its heartland, the Aqike Valley, is the growing number of Chinese tourists who enter the desert and do not stick to recognised tracks. The Centre also serves as a check-point to stop tourists who have not paid the required fee from entering the desert.



Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

On September 20th 2013, the first release took place of wild camels back into the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Two adult bull camels were released at Bogts Tsagaan Ders water point in the Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area ‘A’, the habitat of the wild camel in Mongolia. Before the release the two bull camels were collared for remote sensing by Professor Liu Shaochuang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Remote Sensing. This cooperation between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences is to be greatly welcomed and is a positive result of the initiative in 2000 by the WCPF in obtaining a Letter of Intent from both the Mongolian and Chinese governments to work jointly to protect the critically endangered wild camel.



Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Jane McMorland Hunter, a Patron of the WCPF, is running once again to raise money for the wild camels. This time it is: The Edinburgh Coast Run on Sunday 26th May 2013.

Quote from Jane, ‘I shall be wearing a Wild Camel running shirt and may run with a toy camel – it all depends how well the toy’s training goes, so far, mine is going better!’
Please support Jane. All donations can be made by pressing the DONATE button on the HOME page and donating through Paypal or send a cheque made out to the Wild Camel Protection Foundation and post to:

Jane McMorland Hunter, 19 Varna Road, London SW6 7LB, United Kingdom.

All the money Jane raises goes to support the wild camels.

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GOLDEN JOURNEY- camels raise funds for wild camels at the Opera House

Monday, February 4th, 2013

On Sunday 27th January 2013, at the Linbury Theatre (Royal Opera House, London) a performance was enacted of the Golden Journey – a dramatised history of the Silk Road – in aid of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation. It was presented in front of a full house, who experienced beautifully narrated historical dramas relating how silk was smuggled out of China and the incredible real life stories of Xuan Zang, Ghengis Khan, Kubla Khan and Marco Polo.

The finale recounted the story of the WCPF’s mission to save the critically endangered wild camel from extinction and some of John Hare’s hazardous adventures in the Chinese Gobi, which culminated in the establishment of the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve in Xinjiang Province, China.

However, the real stars of the evening were the Countess of Chichester’s two Bactrian camels, Therese and Temujin who had travelled all the way from Salisbury and stole the show with their impeccable on-stage behaviour. A full house thoroughly appreciated the production, which was devised and written by the Countess of Chichester, (WCPF patron), who was the source and inspiration behind the evening’s great success. The co-producer was the highly efficient Danny Wyler.

The many distinguished narrators and actors, the dancers, musicians, the production staff and all the stage hands gave their time and effort completely free. Rio Tinto, whose ethical mining policy is supporting wildlife and environmental protection both in Mongolia and China, generously co-sponsored the production. The evening, which included a Chinese banquet, was a great success and raised much needed funds for the WCPF.

WCPF sends a huge vote of thanks to all who were involved.

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GOLDEN JOURNEY – Legends of the Silk Road.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

On Sunday Evening, 27th January, 2013 in The Linbury Theatre at The Royal Opera House, London we will  travel to far away places, through time, on a Golden Journey.

Creating an atmosphere that evokes its colourful past, this Golden Journey takes us through the centuries along the fabled Silk Road. Celebrated actors, in the age-old tradition of that route, will tell us stories; legends and histories that bring us exotic characters, redolent of romance, of bravery and of adventure, enhanced by authentic, haunting music and mesmerising dance. At times beautiful live animals will grace the stage as we follow the fascinating road from its distant past until today.

The Golden Journey is being performed to help the Wild Camel Protection Foundation. The critically endangered Wild Camel has managed to survive and overcome insuperable odds through courage and ingenuity.

The mysteries of his survival and the safe guarding of his environment are vitally important to mankind. 

The WCPF not only protects this animal but has initiated a vital educational programme with the Chinese and Mongolian Governments to educate the people bordering the desert so they understand the importance of sustaining their unique eco-system – the habitat of the Wild Camel.

After the journey, and still in the Royal Opera House, there will be a superb Chinese dinner. 




TELEPHONE:   00 44(0)1722 782210 

EMAIL:  goldenjourney@jchich.co.uk

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John Hare’s visit to CHINA and MONGOLIA October 2012

Friday, November 16th, 2012

I visited Mongolia and China for three weeks in October 2012. I travelled to the Hunter Hall Wild Camel Breeding Centre in Mongolia and found the captive wild camels to be in excellent condition. The whole area had been cleaned of droppings, the fence had been repaired, a new building for accommodation and meetings had been well constructed and the whole area looked to be under sound management. This is a tribute to Mijjidorj, the former director of Gobi Specially Protected Area “A” which is adjacent to the Centre and his successor Gotov. The new management structure is clearly a vast improvement on the old.

In China I had discussions with WCPF Trustee, Yuan Lei and the staff at the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve about the wild camel educational programme, which they fully support. We are now waiting their costings for the educational materials in Chinese, Kazakh, Mongolian and Uighur.  Unfortunately, we were not successful in our application to Prince Albert’s Fund for additional funding for our education programme for adults and children living in proximity to the wild camel reserves in China and Mongolia. We do have $10,000 from the Mohammed bin Zayed Trust and I have written with the Chinese National Nature Reserve management staff material for four DVD’s and booklets which the Reserve Head office in China is now costing to print and produce locally. The more funding we obtain, the greater the impact will be in both China and Mongolia. Given these countries are now doing well economically we are keen to encourage locals stewardship and support for the wild camels through in-country education remembering that is also very important as development, especially mining, is rampant in both countries and has a negative impact on the wild camel habitat.

In Beijing I met the Professor Liu, the Chinese Director of the Remote Sensing Unit of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who has offered to collar and fund the wild camel release programme in Mongolia. He has already collared and successfully released nine camels in the Chinese Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve and his generous proposal is fully in accord with the Letter of Intent, signed by both Chinese and Mongolian environment vice Ministers in 2000 at a workshop in Beijing organised by the WCPF. I put the proposal to the Mongolian Ministry of Nature and we are waiting to hear their decision. Gotov is following up on this.

John Hare
Founder, Wild Camel Protection Foundation

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

For 20 years the Wild Camel Protection Foundation has been working to protect the critically endangered double-humped wild camel in the Gobi desert in China and Mongolia from extinction. This year, we decided to run a camel race day to raise funds for the hay, which keeps the 22 wild camels alive during the severe Mongolian winter at our wild camel breeding centre. Hay is not cheap. It does not grow near the desert and has to be carted almost 1200 miles – the final cost is in excess of $9,000.

Joseph Fossett, a good friend who keeps domestic Dromedary and Bactrian camels at Idlicote, Warwickshire, England agreed to bring the camels to Hole Park in Rolvenden, Kent thanks to a kind invitation from Edward and Claire Barham. September weather had been kind throughout the month but the clouds gathered on the morning of the 23rd, the day of the races. These clouds brought rain – in huge quantities. Through the teeming rain, intrepid wild camel supporters turned up – almost 1000 of them.

We determined to carry on. The Mongolian wrestlers and singers arrived early, although the archer had left his arrows behind in Nottingham, but as for the camels – word got around that they were stuck on the motorway in their camel box near Heathrow Airport.

The Mongolians wrestled manfully in their loincloths as the rain poured down. The singers and instrumentalists crooned their songs of love and lament as the waters swirled around them.

At three o’ clock, the time scheduled for the first race, the camel box finally trundled up the drive followed by the racing pigs in a trailer. Huge sighs of relief. Miraculously as it did so, for the very first time that day the rain stopped. Out came the pigs and raced away while the camels took a breather to get their wind back and snatch a quick snack. At 3.30 pm when they were due to take the field, all were ready except for one. The grumpy and disgruntled Safari, who was distinctly out of sorts. He had had enough of the camel box, the motorway and all members of the human race and he certainly let us know just how he felt.

When the other jockeys were mounted and at the starting tape, Safari was facing stubbornly in the wrong direction, squatting down, bellowing and refusing to budge. A female jockey had drawn the short straw and was riding Safari, but as soon as the race started, and the three other camels were a quarter of the way down the course, Safari got up swivelled round, and set off after them at a gallop. He overtook the entire field and won. When someone else rode him in the next heat he won again and then again in the final.

In spite of the weather, the Wild Camel Protection Foundation made over three quarters of the money needed to buy winter hay.

John Hare



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Camel Race Day, 23 September 2012

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The Wild Camel Protection Foundation is organising a fund-raising Camel Race Day on Sunday, 23 September 2012 at 2.00pm at Hole Park, Rolvenden, near Cranbrook, Kent, England.

Joe and Rebecca Fossett have generously agreed to bring their racing camels from Warwickshire and there will be CAMEL POLO, CAMEL RACING and CAMEL RIDES. There will also be PIG RACING, a barbecue and many other side shows and attractions. Please make a note in your diaries to come to this colourful fund-raising event, which will be held in the setting of Hole Park, a country estate with beautiful, well known gardens, which the owners’ Mr and Mrs Edward Barham have generously made available for the event. 

Acclaimed journalist MATTHEW PARRIS is a guest of honour and we will try to get him on to the back of a camel. Camping can be arranged for people planning to stay overnight and there is also good accommodation locally.

Directions to Hole Park:

Full details of location may be found at the Hole Park Web site www.holepark.com

Staplehurst is the nearest station from Charing Cross, London. Hole Park is situated between the villages of Benenden and Rolvenden in Kent, 6 miles from Staplehurst and 55 miles south of London. The address is: Hole Park, Rolvenden, Cranbrook, Kent. TN17 4JA England. <www.holepark.com>gives details of how to get there by road and for non-internet users the A21 out of London should be taken and a left-hand turn to Goudhurst on to the A262. Through the village of Goudhurst and follow the signs for Cranbrook turning right on the B2085 by the Peacock Pub. Then follow B2086 to Benenden . Through the village of Benenden and a mile outside Benenden on the Rolvenden road, Hole Park is on the left hand side of the road and still on the B2086.

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Report on Zakhyn Us Breeding Centre 2011

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012


Anna Jemmett’s Report on the Zakhyn Us Breeding Centre

The following report is based on personal experiences made during a stay in the Govi-Altai province, Mongolia, from between the 3rd of August to the 21st of October 2011. I was able to stay in Bayantori, Zakhyn Us and surrounding areas due to the support of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation UK. This report aims to outline the daily life of the wild camel herders in the late summer months as well as observations that were made on wild camel behaviour. Possible future goals will also be mentioned.

Daily life at the breeding centre

The family Ger is situated in summer grazing pasture (co-ordinates ). The grazing is based in water available areas which are much lusher and have more grazing than the surrounding desert. The Wild camels are herded, by the family, with domesticated dromedaries. During the summer months the adult camels are turned out and free-ranging whilst the calves are tethered overnight. This management technique is used to stop the mothers leaving with the calves.  In the mornings adult females are herded towards the desert whilst calves are un-tethered but monitored throughout the day. The calves were tethered again in the early evening, before the females arrived back. The females returned in the evenings to suckle the calves, usually between 4-6pm but were occasionally later. The calves called to mothers throughout the day, calling became more frequent in the evenings towards the time mothers were due to return. On Tuesday the 20th of August the herd (domestic and wild) were moved to further grazing. Again calves were tethered at night and females free-ranged, returning in the evenings to feed the calves. The male wild camels were not observed in the same area as the females, but seemed to be based near the enclosure at Zakhyn Us (co-ordinates).

 Grazing pastures- first (left) and second (right) 

Before the wild camels were brought back into the breeding centre at Zakhyn Us the shelter was mucked out and all the fences were checked and repaired. Once the work was finished the camels were brought back into the enclosure for the winter months. The camels were herded back in using horses and motorbikes. On the … the male camels were brought back into Zakyn Us. The females and calves were then brought in on…

The “Hasha” wild camel enclosure. Being cleaned (left) and surrounding habitat (right).

Towards the end of October the building of a house began at Zakyn Us. The aim of which is to have a weather proof base for the Wild camel herder to use over winter. The building began on the 12th of October and was completed on the 22nd of October.

Winter house at Zakhyn Us. Foundations and building process

Original aims.

The original aim of the expedition was to determine behavioural states of the captive bred wild camels and to observe mother young interactions. Because of the management technique of separating mothers and calves and females and males during the summer and early autumnal months it was not possible to gain an accurate study of the natural behaviour within the herd. Individuals were separated so that natural herd interactions were not visable. Also the inclusion of domestic Bactrian camels changed herd dynamics and interactions.  Observations were made on the herd and these will be discussed.


Aesthetic differences with domestic Bactrians.

The wild camels show a number of aesthetic differences from domestic Bactrian. Many of these could be dependent upon the time of year. As these observations were made between September and October they may change throughout the year. Further observations and measurements would need to be made to gain a clearer understanding of these differences.

 The coat of the wild camel is lighter in colour. The colour is also more general amongst individuals, domestic Bactrian’s show a much wider variety in coat colour. Wild camels show a distinct dorsal stripe that continues from the head onto the tail, which the Bactrian’s lack. The hair on upper front legs is darker than the rest of the coat. During the September/ October period the domestic Bactrian had a much thicker and longer coat than that of the wild, this could change with winter coat.  

The wild camels appear to be larger in size, taller, but this could depend upon age of the individual again a greater understanding could be gained with further investigation. The build of the wild camel is more athletic and leaner- even with the same grazing. The humps of the wild camel are smaller than that of the domestic and they are more pointed and upright.

Wild camel female (left) and domestic Bactrian male (right).

When looking at the head of the camel it can be noted that the upper lip is split and either side can move independently. As with most ruminants they lack an upper set of incisor teeth, instead having a cartilage pad. The lower incisors are at an angle from the jaw. When the camel is relaxed the lower lip droops. All these features are present in the wild camel. Photos bellow both show wild camel females relaxed with drooped lower lip.  Photo on the right shows the split upper lip.


Communication between individuals appears complex with a number of different vocalisations. Most commonly used vocalisations are a sharp shriek which indicates a warning or anger, as does a short wail. Individuals also call to one another using a long howl (video) and this is both used between mother and calf and also between conspecifics. While separated throughout the day the calves frequently call to mothers even when the females are not visible. Individuals will also still call to one another whilst lying down.

A call/howl to conspecifics in the herd seemed to stimulate movement. It appeared that there was a hierarchy and the lead female initiated movement. This would need to be investigated further, both to determine whether the herd hierarchy is set and also when males are present.


When herded separately both the mothers and the calves would stay in groups containing other wild camels. Although some domestic camels would also be seen to graze with the wild, the wild would always be together. It would be interesting to know when the domestic and wild were introduced, and at what age the calves were when this introduction occurred.

The camels would often show grooming behaviours between conspecifics. This included rubbing the heads and necks together. It would be interesting to determine if this happened between all individuals in the herd.

Towards the end of October the females began to show a number of behaviours that could suggest the beginnings of the rut. They would urinate on the back legs, including urinating and deficating whilst lying down. They were also seen to slap the tail onto the back.

Herd members.

There were four calves born in the spring of 2011 two male and two female. Other members of the herd include the 4 breeding females, two younger females, two large breeding bulls and 4 younger males. In the two months of the trip most interaction was with the calves and mothers, occasionally with the young females. The males were brought in on … and one had still not been located by the time the expedition was complete.

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