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Baby Camel Gets Tame Welcome at Teaching Zoo

September 14, 1998|PAMELA J. JOHNSON

There are limits to how far Lauren Glass will go to bond with the dromedary she named Ramses.

For instance, the sixth-grader at St. Mary Magdalen School in Camarillo refuses to give the humpy creature a smooch on the kisser.

"Ugh, I couldn't," 11-year-old Lauren said Sunday shortly after a celebration at Moorpark College's zoo to welcome the male baby camel."Camel breath--yuck," she said.

The Camarillo resident was one of 750 elementary school students who entered a contest this past spring sponsored by the The Times Ventura County Edition and America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College to give the baby camel a name.

Lauren, whose Girl Scout troop had been studying Egyptian history, said she chose the name Ramses because Ramses was a great Egyptian ruler who sired more than a hundred children.

"I thought it might be a sign for a strong and healthy breeding program," she said. "Besides, I didn't think anybody else would think of Ramses."

At Sunday's event, a plaque bearing Lauren's name was unveiled. The Times made a $500 donation in her name to support camels in the exotic animal program.

Besides getting acquainted with the 6-month-old camel, Lauren said she enjoyed touring the zoo and seeing unusual monkeys that were so tiny, they could fit in the palm of the hand. She also watched a pig do tricks such as rolling up a carpet with its snout.

The highlight, however, was feeding carrots to Ramses.

"At first, I was afraid he was actually going to spit on me for some reason," Lauren said. "When he didn't, I thought he was going to bite me. He has really big teeth and everything. But he didn't. He was really sweet."

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