As a safeguard against the extinction of the wild camel (Camelus ferus) in China (野骆驼) and Mongolia (хавтгай), the Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF) established a captive wild camel breeding programme in Mongolia in 2003, the only programme of its kind in the world. The Mongolian Ministry of Nature and the Environment and Tourism (MNET) fully supported this initiative and has made land available in the buffer zone of the Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area ‘A’, the only natural habitat of the wild camel in Mongolia. Several small buildings and a ten kilometre fence were erected in 2003. With the establishment of the Wild Camel Breeding Centre at Zakhyn Us there is now a unique opportunity to study this remarkable animal and increase the numbers of wild camels in captivity.
The Wild Camel Protection Foundation UK has an ongoing Management agreement with MNET to run the successful captive wild camel breeding centre at Zakhyn Us which is in the Buffer Zone of the Great Gobi Area of Special Protection ‘A’. This area – a rare desert habitat – is where the remnant wild camel population still exists today.
The wild camel is an IUCN and Redbook listed species in Mongolia and therefore protected by Mongolian law and the responsibility of the MNET.
The WCPFUK supported the establishment of the WCPF NGO in Mongolia and fully funds all its costs including all the breeding centre costs.
WCPFUK with a Memorandum of Understanding cooperates with Prague Zoo on the conservation of wild camels in Mongolia. They have years of experience in Mongolia with the reintroduction of the Takhi horse. And they have an agreement with MNET to work with all mammals in this Protected Area.
The second breeding centre planned in Toli Bulag, while in another Soum (province), is also within the Buffer Zone. Once this second breeding centre has been constructed, WCPF UK cooperating fully with WCPF Mongolia, will manage and be fully responsible for both Wild Camel Breeding Centres.
WCPF UK and WCPF Mongolia report every December on their management of these IUCN listed wild camels.
A successful release of two wild bull camels from the Mongolian Breeding Centre into the GGSPA ‘A’ took place on 20th September, 2013 and another successful release of six wild bull camels in October 2015.
Each spring between 4/5 healthy wild camel calves are born at the Breeding Centre. They are checked by vets who come from the UK as part of a cooperation agreement with Knowsley Wildlife Park. The breeding season starts in October in the centre and after thirteen months’ gestation the wild camel calves are born.
The breeding in captivity has been a success. We are very pleased to have the support of zoos from all over the world which have domestic Bactrian camels. They also raise awareness of the work of WCPF to protect this 8th most endangered mammal in the world.