A cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama, and has been produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. The first cama was born on January 14, 1998. The aim was to create an animal capable of higher wool production than the llama, with the size and strength of a camel and a cooperative temperament.
An adult dromedary camel can weigh up to six times as much as a llama, so the hybrid needs to be produced by artificial insemination. Insemination of a female llama with sperm from a male dromedary camel has been the only successful combination. Inseminating a female camel with llama sperm has not produced viable offspring.
The first cama showed signs of becoming sexually mature at age four, when he showed a desire to breed with a female guanaco and a female llama. He was also a behavioral disappointment, displaying an extremely poor temperament. A more recent story suggests that his behavior is generally more gentle, as was hoped for. The second cama, a female named Kamilah, was successfully born in 2002. As of April 2008, five camas have been produced.
Food and drink
Much like camels, camas are herbivores that eat shrubs and other plant matter. As they can drink large amounts of water at a time, camas can survive with little or no water for long periods.
Comparison of camelids
The camelid family consists of the Old World camelids (the dromedary camels, Bactrian camels, and wild Bactrian camels) and the New World camelids (the llama, vicuna, suri alpaca, huacaya alpaca, and guanaco). Though there have been successful and fertile hybrids within both major groups of camelids, the cama marks the first instance of cross-breeding. The following is a table comparing some of the characteristics of camelids.
|Common name||Scientific name||Life span||Adult weight||Height at shoulder||Length of fur||Load-bearing capacity|
|Dromedary camel||Camelus dromedarius||40–50 years||450–540 kg (990–1,190 lb)||180–210 cm (5.9–6.9 ft)||7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in)||150–230 kg (330–510 lb)|
|Bactrian camel||Camelus bactrianus||40–50 years||450–680 kg (990–1,500 lb)||180–210 cm (5.9–6.9 ft)||25 cm (9.8 in)||150–270 kg (330–600 lb)|
|Llama||Lama glama||20–30 years||130–200 kg (290–440 lb)||90–120 cm (3.0–3.9 ft)||8–25 cm (3.1–9.8 in)||30–50 kg (66–110 lb)|
|Vicuña||Vicugna vicugna||20–25 years||35–65 kg (77–143 lb)||70–90 cm (2½–3 ft)||1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in)||10–15 kg (22–33 lb)|
|Alpaca||Vicugna pacos||15–20 years||46–84 kg (101–185 lb)||90–120 cm (3.0–3.9 ft).||20–40 cm (7.9–15.7 in)||10–20 kg (22–44 lb)|
|Guanaco||Lama guanicoe||20–25 years||70–90 kg (150–200 lb)||105–120 cm (3½–4 ft)||5 cm (2.0 in)||15–20 kg (33–44 lb)|
|Cama||Camelus dromedarius × Lama glama||Unknown||50–70 kg (110–150 lb)||125–140 cm (4 1/10-4 3/4 ft)||6 cm (2.4 in)||25–30 kg (55–66 lb)|
- "Meet Rama the cama ... BBC". BBC News. 1998-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- Duncan Campbell (2002-07-15). "Bad karma for cross llama without a hump". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
- Fahmy, Miral (21 March 2002). "'Cama' camel/llama hybrids born in UAE research centre". Science in the News. The Royal Society of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Xanadu Farms". Xanadu Farms. 2002-02-27. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- "World's First Camel And Llama Cross Now Has Friends". Impactlab.net. April 8, 2008. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- World Book Encyclopedia. World Book. 1998. ISBN 0-7166-0098-6.
- Great Book of the Animal Kingdom. New York: Crescent Books. 1993. pp. 328–330. ISBN 0-517-08801-0.
- Kindersley, Dorling (2005). Camels and Relatives, Animal The Definitive Visual Guide to the World’s Wildlife. pp. 236–237. ISBN 0-7894-7764-5.