Keepers at Banham Zoo were overjoyed when Lucy, one of their domestic Bactrian camels, gave birth to a strapping calf.
Although there were doubts almost until the last minute whether Lucy was actually pregnant, the debate was finally settled when she went into labour.
Closely monitored by her keepers when it was clear a calf was on the way, Lucy gave birth on March 19.
The birth was particularly special for the keepers who work with the camels at Banham, because it was the last calf sired by Genghis, the zoo’s previous adult male.
Genghis was donated to another UK zoo last year.
Animal manager Mike Woolham said: “We were sad to see Genghis depart, but moving animals between zoos is quite common.
“There was a lot of discussion among the keepers regarding whether Lucy was pregnant or not, as the dates were pretty tight.
“Those who worked closely with her, though, were pretty convinced and have been proved correct.
“It seems that Genghis did leave us with a very welcome gift before he departed to his new home.”
The calf, a male, has yet to be given a name.
After spending a few days away from the public’s gaze while he bonded with his mother, he will now be introduced to the zoo’s other female camel, Scrummy.
He can be seen inside the camel house but keepers expect, weather permitting, to be giving their latest arrival access to the main paddock in the coming days.
Although the camels housed at the zoo are of the domestic variety, their wild counterparts from China and Mongolia are considered a critically endangered species and currently number fewer than 1,000.
The zoo regards its domestic camels as “valuable ambassadors” for their wild counterparts and hope the new calf will provide more focus on the conservation efforts currently under way to protect their wild cousins.