Category Archives: Mongolian Bactrian Camel

The Camel Milk Story from the Gobi Desert Mongolia

The story is hereby released at the eve of the World Camel Day 2018.

The author was invited by the newly established Mongolian Camel Milk Company. The group owns their camels in the desert as their half families live there with the precious livestock in the amazing Gobi.

img_51551-e1529573776340.jpgI started traveling from Dubai airport (2 am, 20th April) and reached Ulaanbaatar on the 21st morning 7 am (Cengiz Khaan International Airport) via Moscow by Aeroflot. The 12 hours stay in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport was an excellent experience of life as I slept in a small cabin available on rent, the first time in my life.

A Bank advertisement with camel, the first thing I saw on arrival

Sanaa and Enkhie (the trip organizers) received me at the airport and took me to the hotel (Khuvsgul Lake). Today, the program was composed of some meetings in the UB city with camel scientists/researcher, businessmen and visiting Changiz Khan Museum.

Me with Enkhie in Chansiz Khan Museum

Travel to South Gobi Desert

Next day, we traveled for more than 10 hours by road and reached South Gobi region. We traveled another 1:30 hour to reach the nomad Ger (house). The nomad family warmly welcomed us and we stayed overnight there. I slept in the Ger first time.Nomad house decorated with many camel medals

Gobi is a vast land with rich floral biodiversityThis time period of the year, the nomads do not milk the camels but to let the calf take it and get stronger. The Bactrian camels have beautiful small teats with a strongly attached compact udder.Bactrian camel is very good riding animal

Seeing Camels and Interviewing the Herder

Next day, I woke up in the morning and went to the camels. They are still roaming near the Ger with their calves. The calves are tied. I observed the calves and the dams and found them very healthy and stronger.

Types of camel

There are 3 types of Bactrian camels in the region, i.e.

  1. Galba Gobiin Ulaan (Reddish colored camel)
  2. Khaniin Khestiin Khuren (Brown colored camel)
  3. Thukhum MTungologiin kKhos Zogdott Khuren (double line neck hair)

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Breeding Season

The breeding season starts in October and reached the peak in December and slowly decline and cease in April. Usually, one Bull is enough for up to 70 she-camels. The details of the production traits are given in the table below.

Table: The Production Traits of the Bactrian camel in the region

Months Conception Rate (%) Calving %age Avg. Milk (kg)
Jan 25 25 0.1
Feb 15 16 0.15
Mar 4 5 0.175
Apr 2 3 0.2
May 2 1 0.3
Jun 1 1 1.2
Jul 1 1 1.8
Aug 1 2 1.6
Sep 3 2 1.5
Oct 5 4 0.5
Nov 16 15 0.17
Dec 25 25 0.1

The table clearly indicates the breeding season, calving percentage, and the milk production. The Camel Milk is lower in quantity, producing from 1-3 liter/day but the milk is thick and full of energy to give special strength to the calf to survive in challenging environment. The average milk production based on my survey is 640 ml/day with lactation yield 233 kg. The lactation here calculated on the annual basis but in actual, the camel produces for up to 8 months.

Camel Milk Products

The nomads use camel milk as fresh directly. The surplus is converted into fermented product (Harmok). The Harmok is used very widely and some products are available in the market in Ulaanbaatar. For further details about Bactrian milk, you can go to the link Detailed Nutritional Composition of Bactrian Camel’s Milk

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Harmok

The surplus Harmok is converted into CM Vodka and the residues are used to make Curt. The curt and Vodka is offered to the guests as a unique product of the Gobi.

The Attachment of Nomads with camel

The nomads love their camel very much. They call it Temeh in the Mongolian language. They use camel for riding, racing, festivals, wool, and also for meat (in rare cases).

The Strong and Brave, Tolerate hottest days of the year (22 June), A world Camel Day

The Brela camel of Pat. The highly tolerant and adapted camels of Sibi plains (Pat) of Balochistan. Here the people say the heat waves come from the hell and mercury touches 52 Celsius in Summer. I took this picture on 22nd June and there were really heat waves of the hell but these camels were happily enjoying the sunshine in the Pat (barren land)

Camel, the tolerant, adaptable, docile and loving creature especially gifted by nature to the harsh and hostile ecosystems of the world.  The people living in such regions are really blessed and gifted with this unique creation. Unfortunately, in the fast world and fast life era, this unique gift was either ignored or undermined by different quarters especially the policymakers. The author, therefore, proposed a day (22nd June) to think and think about this precious animal and spread awareness to give proper place again. Thanks to all my friends and colleagues, including scientists, activists, and family members who supported this cause and now the people have realized the importance of this great friend of mine~ The dear Camel.

Brahvi breed.jpg

Another very special breed of the camel in the region is Brahvi camel. The breeders are in love with the black color and they select for such coat of camel.

A real camel day 22nd June in the Pat of Sibi. This day was a tribute to these very special and unique animal in the Pat of Sibi. We took milk from them and made Sourine (the fermented milk in Balochi culture). Hence a world camel day was celebrated on 22nd June. Though 21st June is the longest day in northern hemisphere 21st June is dedicated to World Music Day. This picture was shot in the hottest place of Pakistan (Sibi), in the hottest month (June). The camels are sitting naked to the sunshine, enjoying regurgitation.

Not only the harsh summers, but the camel equally tolerate the extreme cold weathers of the regions like Gobi desert.

Bactrian Camels in the South Gobi Province of the Mongolia

I shot this picture in the month of the May. Though the weather was not hot still the environment is not very friendly for the exotic livestock.