Birthday beard banished!

Trainee keeper, Clare Westwood, was delighted to free a moulting camel from her last tuft of hair – just in time for her second birthday, today.

Charlescamel-webBactrian camel, Jimandi, had shed most of her shaggy fur except for a long beard which had become matted, so Clare decided to reach for the scissors.

She said: “Jimandi is quite fussy, and it has been a real achievement to build her trust, but she is warming to being groomed. She was rubbing to try to remove the beard so I ?gave her a helping hand.”

Bactrian camels lose their long shaggy coats annually as the temperature gauge goes up.

Male Charles, who shares the enclosure, is sporting a very different fashion statement – a thick, messy, shaggy coat – which has prompted visitors to comment on Jimandi’s lack of locks.

Clare added: “She does look a state, but it’s nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t look very nice when it happens, and Charles will go through the exactly same process later in the year.”

Charlescamel-webBactrians’ waterproof thick coats also serve as insulation and shed large chunks of fur in the summer to keep them cool.

CAPTIONS: ABOVE: Happy birthday, Jimandi! Trainee keeper Clare Westwood takes off that straggly beard.

LEFT: Trainee keeper Hannah Follows grooms Charles.

Story and pix by Suzanne Jordan

Suzanne, a postgraduate studying MA Journalism at Staffordshire University, is spending a two-week placement in DZG’s Press Office.