Those distinctive parts - they store fat, a handy feature when traveling in harsh deserts - will begin to develop in about a year, said David Oehler, the zoo's director of animal collections.
The leggy male born Monday afternoon is a Bactrian camel, a species with two humps; their Arabian relatives have one.
The parents - and the zoo's only other camels - are a pair of 3-year-olds, mother Saarai and father Humphrey, which the zoo brought in a couple of years ago.
U.S. zoos house 138 Bactrian camels, according to the International Species Information System. In the past year, only three other camel births were reported by U.S. zoos.
Wild Bactrian camels are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their numbers have dipped below 1,000 in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China.
"So (animals in captivity) are good ambassadors for the wild population," Oehler said. The zoo plans to include the camels in its keeper encounter program, which allows visitors to get up close to the animals and touch and feed them.
The birth occurred just in time for Zoo Babies, the zoo's annual month-long celebration of newborns. The event begins Tuesday.
Written by John Johnston
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