Camel Species

There are 3 camel species, though only one lives wild. We will deal with all three on this page.

Wild Bactrian camel

Domesticated Bactrian Camel

Dromedary camel

The only remaining wild species of camel in the world, the wild Bactrian camel is a critically endangered, with 600 –  1000 of them roaming the Gobi desert, which is found in Northern China and Mongolia. While they do have natural predators, which include the Gobi wolf – an incredibly rare subpopulation of the Asiatic wolf.

Unfortunately, as with many wild species, the predator pushing them fastest towards extinction is man. It is incredibly cold in winter (-30–15) and incredibly hot in winter, ranging from (25-38). Until recently, the wild species had been thought the descendants of feral camels, but recently it has been shown that these two populations split about 1.1 million years ago.

Most live on the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve in China, and a smaller population lives in the Great Gobi A Strictly Protected Area in Mongolia. There are also populations in the Altun Shan Wild Camel Nature Reserve (1986) in Qakilik County, in the Aksai Annanba Nature Reserve (1992), and in Dunhuang Wanyaodun Nature Reserve (now Dunhuang Xihu Wild Camel Nature Reserve) contiguous with the reserve in Qakilik (2001) and a reserve in Mazongshan contiguous with the reserve in Mongolia, all in China.

Threats include poaching, climate change and habitat loss.

Also known as the Mongolian camel, or the two humped camel, this species is not closely related to that on the left, having split over 1 million years ago. 

There are currently an estimated 2 million of these, across Asia, all in captivity. It is unclear, having found that this domesticated camel did not originate from the wild Bactrian camel, where it did originate.

However, given domestication only started 4000-6000, it cannot have been the cause for the species to split.

There are feral populations of this species.

The domesticated animal is found from Mongolia and China as far west as parts of easter Ukraine (at least until recent modern times

The dromedary camel, is another species, only to be found in captivity. Having said that, there has been a sizable feral (and damaging) population in Australia. While once thought as high as 1 million, it would appear that the population was around 600,000, and it was reduced over heavy work, to around 300,000. This work costs around 19 million Australian dollars.

They have been considered essential for desert crossings, as they are able to survive without food or water for periods of time. When they do come to water, they can drink as much as 57 litres in one sitting.

They are also, in places, farmed, for meat and milk. They are also used in many places for the tourism industr.

We hope in time, to add some links to see these in the wild. Do get in touch if you work in tourism or conservation of this species

See Animals Wild