Help name the Memphis Zoo’s new baby camel (and enter to win year’s family membership to the zoo)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There's a new addition to the Memphis Zoo's family of exotic animals. A male Dromedary camel calf was born there June 12th.

However, the baby hasn't been named yet, and that's where you come in.

WREG and the Memphis Zoo have partnered up for a "Name the Baby Camel" contest.

Just like any new baby boy, the 2-week-old camel is growing like a weed and craving attention from workers at the Memphis Zoo.

"Can I get some kisses?...(kissing sound)...thank you. Could I have some more?" said the zoo worker at Camel Excursions.

This species of camel is called a Dromedary and has only one hump.

The baby's mom, Mona Lisa, carried the camel calf for 15 months before giving birth June 12th.

Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Projects, said this is a rare and exciting event.

"The last camel birth was just over 20 years ago here. So to suddenly have a baby camel here is really exciting and everybody wants to see it," said Matt Thompson.

The baby boy is still in a holding pen at the  Camel Excursion attraction on the east side of the zoo.

It's been learning to make the best use of his long legs,  while getting lots of oohs and aahs from Memphis Zoo visitors.

"Look at the baby...look at it, look at it, look at it," said a group of youngsters from Cunningham Community Center in Memphis.

"I think it's wonderful, I think it's awesome. It's just a great experience for the kids," said Jamie Cross from DeSoto County, Miss.

Everyone's dying to know the baby camel's name, but it doesn't have one yet.

And Matt Thompson said that's where you come in.

"We've kind of come up with a naming contest. It's going to be exclusively with Channel 3, and is the place to go vote," said Thompson.

The zoo narrowed the choices down to three names: Leo, Humphrey, and Mike.

"Which is the Geico camel, but also Michelangelo because he is a part painted camel," said Thompson.

What name to vote for is something to think about while you're riding one of the camels at Camel Excursions.

Five dollars gets you a ride on a full-grown Dromedary camel.

The Memphis Zoo currently has four camels in its Camel Excursion exhibit.

The camels are all expertly trained by Camels Unlimited, a family-owned company that has specialized in camel rides for more than two generations.

Sheila and Jerry Tiner, from Blakely, Ga.,  made their first visit to the Memphis Zoo and took one of the camel rides.

Sheila said she's glad to have her feet back on the ground.

"You were really up high, higher than you would think," said Tiner.

Jerry said the ride was a once-in-a-lifetime experience the couple will never forget.

"It was an awesome experience. It's something you don't get to do everyday, you'll probably never get to do again," said Jerry.

Click here to vote in the naming contest. One voter will be selected to win a year's family membership at the Memphis Zoo. The winner will be announced on the Fourth of July.


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