BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
With a modern-day tip of the hat via Twitter from Tony Award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s Alexander Hamilton) in the form of a camel emoji, no less, Lincoln Park Zoo’s month-old camel, Alexander Camelton, has become a star.
Though this celebrity shout-out – and very timely moniker – has turned him into national news item, it is this rare Bactrian two-humped camel’s sweet face and slightly wobbly legs enchanting visitors to his pen at the zoo, not the hype surrounding him.
Dan Boehm, LPZ Zoological Manager, gave Classic Chicago an update:
“Adam Pankratz, an animal keeper in our small mammal/reptile house, came up with Alexander’s name, and our little camel has become quite a superstar since his birth in the pen May 9. He weighed 81 pounds at birth and spent his first days just learning to walk on his long gangly legs. He is quite the inquisitive young man, spending time getting to know the three females in the pen, including his mother.”
Bactrian camels are native to Northern China and Mongolia and love the cold of mountain weather.
“Alexander is growing very fast and will reach 1500 pounds when he is four or five years old. He should be an adult size by the time he is two or three. We don’t go into the pen with them, but food treats lure our camels over to an opening where they stick their heads and we can groom them. The bigger ones are molting since it is summer. Alexander is already developing a taste for carrots, lettuce and other produce.”
While this little camel learns the ropes, it is the zookeepers who have an even more daunting challenge at hand: naming his neighbor, a female Grevy’s Zebra, born just last week and already weighing in at 106 pounds. It will be no easy task to top the cheekily relevant title ‘Alexander Camelton.’ We hope ‘Brexit’ is not among the possibilities…