Wednesday, 10 February, 2016
Finally we have reached that special time of year... The birth of the Guelfos. (Canary dialect word referring to dromedary nursing pups.)
Each year around this time Oasis Park Fuerteventura is revolutionised with the births of the Guelphs. It is a time of hard work, effort and dedication but also of great joy. This year we expect about 40 births in a period of five months.
During the months of December to May males enter into their mating season and that's when they share pens with the females. In the same way as it happens in nature, each male forms a harem of females which they defend and mate with until around April. After a gestation period of 13 months the female gives birth to a single calf (twin births are very rare) and childbirth usually elapses without problems.
Today, Oasis Park Fuerteventura celebrated the arrival of eight Guelfos, 4 males and 4 females: Happy, Hermes, Wendy, Eugenio, Roberta, Bobby, Zoe and Blue. They all had a smooth delivery under the watchful eye of our colleagues Julio and Miguel Angel. The names were chosen through competitions in our various social networks. Stay tuned to them if you want to choose a name for your favorite animals!
Once born our veterinary team will provide them with all the care needed to ensure they have a proper growth. The day after birth, calves are weighed and they monitor their vital signs while vitamins are administered. It is also essential to verify that they are sucking properly. Within a week they are weighed to check that they are growing well and have no problems with food.
The first milk the females give is called colostrum and it is essential as it provides the first immunity to the baby. When thinking about the possibility of having babies if the mother does not have enough milk or if the babies are rejected, some females are milked for colostrum to be stored under controlled conditions and then can be used by them later.
The young sleep together with their mothers in pens on a floor lined with straw which helps to keep them warm, and in the morning they go outside to take advantage of the sunlight, this is essential for them to grow healthy. In the coming months they have constant veterinary checks to ensure the health of our youngest guests.
The diet of the mother during this time is critical; they require a high degree of protein. This is achieved by increasing the amount of alfalfa and dry food which they receive daily. Respecting their need for rest and relaxation, mothers also receive the care and attention of our veterinary team.
The truth is that camels are extremely strong, tough and very curious animals. They love the contact with caregivers and develop very close relationships with them.