Today, 22 June, is World Camel Day.
This even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as “humps” on its back. The two surviving species of camel are the dromedary, or one-humped camel, which is native to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa; and the Bactrian, or two-humped camel, which inhabits Central Asia. Both species have been domesticated; they provide milk, meat, hair for textiles or goods such as felted pouches, and are working animals.
Camels have even been used in battle. The Imperial Camel Corps Brigade (ICCB) was a camel-mounted infantry brigade, raised in December 1916, by the British Empire, for service in the Middle East during the First World War. The brigade eventually comprised four battalions, one battalion each from Great Britain and New Zealand and two battalions from Australia.
The ICC became part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) and fought in several battles and engagements. The brigade suffered significant casualties, and 246 men were killed. The ICC was disbanded after the end of the war in May 1919.
The Camel Corps is remembered by a statue in Victoria Embankment Gardens in London:
The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years. A full-grown adult camel stands 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) at the shoulder and 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in) at the hump. Camels can run at up to 65 km/h (40 mph) in short bursts and can sustain speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).
Camels do not directly store water in their humps as was once commonly believed. The humps are actually reservoirs of fatty tissue: concentrating body fat in their humps minimizes the insulating effect fat would have if distributed over the rest of their bodies, helping camels survive in hot climates.