ZOO staff are celebrating a new arrival which is helping boost the numbers of a critically-endangered species.

Abi the Bactrian camel has given birth to a healthy female calf and both mother and daughter are well in their enclosure at Flamingo Land Zoo near Pickering.

“This is Abi’s second calf and she is looking after it very well,” said zoo spokesman Sarah Mills.

“Abi was hand reared but she still has a motherly instinct to make sure the calf is protected and suckling from her.

“The calf’s dad, Baxter, is living within the same camel house along with the rest of our camels, although they are being kept separate from Abi and her calf for a few days to give them a bit of privacy.”

Although two-humped Bactrian camels are numerous and widespread in their domesticated form, the wild species has dwindled alarmingly and is now regarded as critically endangered with around 600 individuals in China and 350 in Mongolia.

Conservation efforts are in place in both those countries to protect them in their natural habitat, but breeding programmes in zoos are also seen as extremely important to maintain the population numbers.