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Yesterday, Zoo Miami officials had to make the very difficult decision to euthanize “Fluffy,” a 16 year old male Dromedary camel.

For over two years, Fluffy had been suffering from degenerative joint disease for which he was receiving a variety of treatments that included pain management medications and laser therapy.  Though those treatments were able to provide Fluffy with some comfort and a good quality of life for an extended period of time, the progression of the disease had gotten to a point where all available treatment options had been exhausted and his quality of life could no longer be maintained.  After much discussion between the Animal Health and Animal Science teams, the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize him to prevent any further suffering.

Fluffy was not only a staff favorite, but a zoo visitor favorite as well.  As part of the Interactive Programs department at Zoo Miami, he had frequent interaction with guests who participated in the Camel Feeding program at the zoo’s Critter Connection section of the zoo.  Unlike with most other animals at the zoo, staff members had constant hands-on contact with Fluffy as they groomed him and trained him as part of an enrichment program designed to mentally and physically stimulate him.  His gentle personality and outgoing nature made him a perfect animal ambassador for staff and visitors alike.  He will be profoundly missed but hopefully the countless memories that he provided will help to keep him alive in the hearts of many.

The Dromedary camel is originally from North Africa, Arabia and India but has been introduced to Namibia and Australia.  It has a single hump that stores fat and allows the camel to survive for extended periods without food.  They can drink up to 30 gallons of water in 10 minutes and are especially adapted for life in the desert with wide padded feet for walking in the sand and the ability to tightly close their eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth to protect against sand storms.  Dromedary camels are considered semi-domesticated and have been utilized as livestock by humans for centuries.

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