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Wild World Zoo welcomes new baby camel
From the east side of Yuma, go south on Avenue 3E to County 16th Street. Turn right and got two miles to Avenue 1E and turn right again. The entrance will be on the left.
From the west side of Yuma, go south on Highway 95 (Avenue B) to County 15th Street. Turn left and got two miles to Avenue 1E. Turn right and go about a mile. The entrance will be on the right.
The Wild World Zoo and Camel Farm, formerly known as the Camel Farm, is celebrating the births of several new babies and additions, including a baby camel, wallaroo and several lambs and goats.
The family-owned and -operated zoo, located at 15672 S. Avenue 1E, has been raising exotic animals for more than 25 years. It is home to more than 50 species from around the world.
Among the new and exciting creatures is Smokey, a 2-week-old Arabian camel.
“We purposely pulled him out before he bonded with his mother,” said Terrill Al-Saihati, who operates the zoo with her brother, Ben Standley.
“His mother is older, and although it looked like she had milk, she didn't have milk.”
They were also concerned because Smokey wasn't getting up. “He wouldn't get up. We had to help him up,” she explained.
The baby camel is now being bottle-fed. “He's doing great. He's a frisky little guy.”
Smokey is currently the roommate of Murphy, a 1-year-old wallaroo. Native to Australia, the marsupial is midway in size between a kangaroo and a wallaby. A wallaroo can travel long distances at high speeds without spending large amounts of energy. It can survive on poor quality foods, but you can bet that the folks at the zoo are spoiling him.
Megan Tetreau volunteered to raise Murphy, who was acquired at an exotic animal auction and was also bottle-raised.
“Because marsupials remain in the pouch until they're weaned, Megan carried Murphy everywhere in a cloth pouch until he was ready to be weaned,” Al-Saihati said. “She did a fantastic job.”
Among the babies are Bandit, a 2-month-old Nigerian dwarf goat who loves to be held and is most at home in Al-Saihati's arms, and 3-week-old lamb, Laurie.
“Laurie is a twin and her mother didn't have enough milk for both, so we pulled her out and she's doing really well on a bottle,” Al-Saihati said.
The zoo also welcomed a kinkajon, a member of the raccoon family often mistaken for a monkey.
“It has a long tail that curls around your wrist. He's got a really cute face.”
Kinkajons are mostly nocturnal and hide during the day. “He likes to play at night. Usually the only time you can see him is first thing in the morning,” Al-Saihati said.
The zoo is also the new home to an eland, the largest of all antelopes. He's a couple of years old and has a broken horn bent backward so it looks like he's a unicorn. The eland is native to America and eats grasses, leaves and branches.
The zoo has a few go-bex. “What is that?” you might ask. A go-bex is the accidental result of putting a lonely male Nubian Ibex, a wild animal related to goats, with female Nubian goats.
“We didn't have a female Ibex and we didn't want him to be lonely so we put him with female Nubian goats and a short time later, there were three go-bexes. That's what we're calling them,” Al-Saihati said.â€¨So there won't be inbreeding, the zoo bought a baby Ibex male and bottle raised him as well. He's now 9 months old. When he's old enough, in a couple of years, they'll breed him.
The zoo has plenty of other babies, including two goats born on Monday, and they are expecting more baby camels any day now.
“When? Who knows? I gave up a long time ago trying to predict when they would be born,” Al-Saihati said, laughing.
Among Al-Saihati's favorites are a couple of female Asian water buffaloes, “not to be confused with cape buffaloes, which are real dangerous,” she said.
“I love water buffaloes. They're really gentle and smart. They like people and they're friendly. They're one of the first animals I bought and raised.”
One is 18 months old and the other is a year old. Mozzarella cheese is traditionally made from water buffalo milk, Al-Saihati pointed out.
“It's a little bit of a challenge (raising water buffalo in Yuma's hot climate) because they don't sweat, just on their noses,” she noted.
This past summer they kept cool with sprinklers. Next summer the zoo will extend their pen, irrigate the ground and dig holes for them.
In another pen, an African spurred tortoise spends mornings basking in the sun and hides in holes when it's cold and windy. The tortoise is about 10 years old and can be expected to reach more than 100 pounds.
Other zoo animals include maras and coatimundis. Also known as Patagonian cavies, maras are native to South America and are the largest member of the guinea pig family.
Coatimundis are related to raccoons and are native to South and Central America. The eat mainly insects, fruit and the occasional lizard, rodent or egg.
“In the winter we give them chicken gizzards, but in the summer they're more interested in fruit, the juicy stuff. Females mostly want fruit, but the male mostly wants his meat,” Al-Saihati explained.
The zoo has also added a few new birds, such as pheasants and peacocks.
Al-Saihati is now working full-time at the zoo, having decided to focus all her time and efforts at the farm. “It's more than a full-time job, but it's a lot less stress. I'm enjoying it more.
“We love the animals. They depend on us. I know Yuma is changing, but there are not many family things to do, things for families with kids,” she said.
Al-Saihati and Standley's goal is for the zoo to be “a fun and interesting place to visit, no matter what age,” according to their new brochure.
They invite visitors to wander around the farm, take pictures, feed friendly goats and sheep, and even bring lunch and picnic at a ramada.
“We hope people keep coming back and enjoy hanging out with the animals,” Al-Saihati said.
The zoo is available for off-site petting zoos and animal appearances at special events. .
Wild World Zoo and Camel Farm is open Tuesday through Sunday. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; spring hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call for the summer schedule.
Admission is $5 per person, $4 for kids 3-13 and $4 for seniors age 55 and older. Children under 3 are free. Military and school group discounts available.