Lehigh Valley Zoo
June 16, 2022
(Schnecksville, PA) – Lehigh Valley Zoo is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Baby, a 23-year-old Dromedary Camel, this week. Baby had been under close monitoring and medical care for chronic osteoarthritis for many years and the decision was made to euthanize as her chronic medical issues were increasingly impacting her health and quality of life. In addition, the animal care team noticed behavioral changes following the loss of her 27-year-old mother, Leena.
LV Zoo’s veterinary and animal care teams made the difficult decision to euthanize Leena earlier this month, after she was monitored closely through quality of life and welfare assessments regarding her chronic osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is commonly seen in older animals as a degenerative change that appears as they age. Typically, camels live healthy lives into their early 20s, rarely living beyond 30. Both Leena and Baby received medications daily to help them to walk comfortably for as long as possible. In addition, a strong relationship with their keepers allowed Leena and Baby to participate in trained behaviors that helped staff monitor and treat their osteoarthritis.
“The animal care team at Lehigh Valley Zoo is dedicated to providing excellent animal welfare,” Curator Maggie Morse said. “Making these difficult decisions when we see an animal in declining health — unable to have a quality of life — is part of providing principled welfare.”
Both Leena and Baby were among some of the oldest camels recorded in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), which is a testament to the care from the LV Zoo staff.
The LV Zoo staff will fondly remember Baby, who was born at LV Zoo to Leena in 1999 and spent her entire life in the Lehigh Valley. Baby was seen by millions of zoo visitors and served as a wonderful ambassador, teaching staff and visitors alike about the behavior, biology and social nature of Dromedary Camels. Baby and Leena will be greatly missed by the zoo staff and community.
As for the habitat, LV Zoo expects to add another species beneficial to the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the upcoming months.
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but as a treasured community landmark, the Zoo’s history spans over a century. Founded in 1906 by General Harry C. Trexler, a local industrialist, the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve has educated and entertained more than five million people.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. With a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook @LVZOO.