A news site about animals

Camel Owner Spins a Great Yarn

Textile designer Helen Durrant has worked with fibers for more than forty years.  When she heard about the camels’ struggles throughout Central Australia, she became emboldened to act.  So began her journey working predominately with camel wool.

“I found it offensive,” she said, “I decided that it was no use protesting unless I did something about it.  I wanted to do something positive and that was to start utilizing products from the camels to show that they do have value and we don’t just necessarily need to let them rot.”

Helen lives at Ross River Resort, east of Alice Springs, in the very center of Australia.  With her five pet camels, she is only person in Australia working with camel wool.

She knits, weaves and felts with the camel wool, to make her own ranges of beanies, scarfs, shawls, booties, ponchos and other garments.  While globally camel wool is relatively easy to access, Helen says it can be difficult to source in Australia.

“It’s always evolving, I’m always looking for new things to make.  People with camels tend to stockpile it not knowing what to do with it and don’t particularly want you to have it,” she said, “generally the wool will be from camels in in captivity that are tame.  Once they start shedding, when it’s hot in the Summer, they get ragged around their flanks and the wool comes off them.

Helen spins the wool herself at Ross River, using a spinning wheel over forty-years-old from New Zealand.

“The rhythm of the wheel is quite mesmerising, and you can sit and meditate and spin for hours.”


It’s estimated to be more than 750,000 feral camels in Australia’s outback.  While it’s growing, Helen says a local camel industry is still in its infancy.

“We’ve barely even sniffed at it yet,” she said, ” [but] I think there’s huge potential here.  I don’t think it’s ever going to be something that somebody comes in from overseas and pours millions of dollars into, it will be people like me and it will start off as a bit of a cottage industry.  And it will grow from there – and it is growing.”


Happy Humpday (^_^)

Genetics of the Camel Decoded

Meet Mozart, a Bactrian camel who provided the genetic raw material (just a blood sample, no harm came to him) for the work that has officially sequenced the genome of the camel.  Undertaken by Pamela Burger at the Institute of Population Genetics and researchers at the Vetmeduni Vienna, have made a significant contribution to population genetic research on camels.  The study has laid the foundation for future scientific work on these enigmatic desert animals. 

Pamela Burger heads one of the few research groups in Europe that study camel genetics. Burger and her colleagues are primarily interested in the domestication of camels, which took place around three to six thousand years ago.  The DNA code  represents a rich resource for addressing questions on phylogenetic relationships between animals. Burger is one of the first scientists to sequence large parts of the genome of a Bactrian camel and make it available to the public.

Until recently, the genetic code of the Camel had not been fully analysed. Genetic research on these animals was therefore difficult or even impossible. In contrast, the entire genetic information of the human genome was available as long ago as 2003 and the genetic code of various animals and plants is publicly available, giving researchers access to an enormous amount of data.

For example, the scientists were able to find genetic relationships between the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) and the dromedary (Camelus dromedarius); 85% of the genomic sequences expressed in the dromedary can also be found in the Bactrian camel.  Burger explains, “Mozart’s genome provides us with the basis for further comparative research on other camelids such as dromedary, lama and alpaca.”



To date, the lack of basic genetic data has severely hampered studies of camel genetics.  Pamela Burger and her team are pioneers in presenting this essential data set.

Happy Humpday (^_^)

Camel Lot

Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot!  ;-D

















Happy Humpday!

Camel Urine May Help Cure Cancer?

This is one of the most bizarre scientific research articles I’ve ever run across, so how could I not share it?

Researchers in Saudi Arabia say they have identified a substance in camel urine that could cure cancer, but the early stage research is awaiting approval from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority before further studies can be conducted.

The researchers, based at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), in Jeddah, will present their research at the 2nd Biotechnology World Congress in Dubai on February 18th through the 21st.  Middle Eastern media, however, have been publicising claims about the substance’s potential cancer-curing properties since at least 2009.


The research team says the substance they have extracted contains macro- and nano-particles and different types of metals.  Some of these metals appear to help the substance selectively target cancer cells, although their nature is still under investigation.


“This new smart drug is based on the latest frontiers in nanotechnology, which include nanoshells [a type of spherical nanoparticle] as the drug carrier,” said Gehan Ahmed, KAU’s head of medical biophysics research.


The researchers claim they have also conducted a phase I trial on people with tumours (yet to be published) which showed some promising results.

Michael Jewett, a urology professor and bladder cancer specialist at the University of Toronto, Canada, says he was “impressed” by the research, but insists that further evidence of its ability to cure cancer is needed.

“I am pleased that there is ongoing work to validate this experience in a scientific way.  This is not an easy problem to address and there needs to be some high level peer-reviewed scientific reports of evidence to move this field forward.”


Whether it come from camel urine or not, any scientific potential for curing cancer deserves further research.



Happy Humpday, everybody :-)

The Laughing Camel

Happy Humpday, everybody… we’ve made it to the middle of the week!  So, laugh… and maybe a camel will laugh too. ;-D


















This picture was just way too hilarious not to post. :-D