Camel (Bactrian)

Camelus bactrianus

IUCN Red List status: Critically Endangered

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Critically Endangered


Where they live

Mongolia and China


mountainous areas to flat stony deserts, massive sand dunes, vast arid plains and tree fringed oases


head-body length 300cm, tail length 50cm, height 180-230cm




40 to 45 years


Threats to the wild populations include habitat loss, hybridisation with domestic camels, hunting and drought

Did you know...

  • Bactrian camels can drink 57 litres of water in a single session
  • They can last for several days without food or water, thanks to the energy supply provided by fat in their humps

More about Bactrian camels...

The Bactrian camel is native to the steppes of central Asia, and restricted in the wild to remote regions of the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts of Mongolia where it is thought to number around 500 – 800 individuals. Most of the estimated 1.4 million Bactrians alive today are domesticated camels.

Bactrians have two humps while the dromedary, or Arabian camel, has a single hump.

These animals are superbly adapted to life in the desert. They have a double row of extra-long eyelashes, hairs in their ears, and can close their nostrils to prevent damage during sandstorms. Large feet spread wide to allow them to travel efficiently through the sandy desert, and their thick woolly fur allows them to remain warm in -40°C winter temperatures.

They shed their thick coat in summer when temperatures may reach 40°C, and fat stored in the two humps can be metabolised by the camel when food and water are scarce.

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