Sight Magazine – In US state of Kansas, camel escapes from manger, latest in string of camel incidents


An escaped camel sent police to scramble in a Kansas City suburb last weekend. The dromedary in question escaped from a nursery in Bonner Springs, Kansas. The incident is the final chapter in the colorful and often chaotic history of camels in the United States.

The animal was in a nursery at the National Agriculture and Hall of Fame Center when its halter broke late on Saturday night. Pursued shortly after on foot, the camel manages to avoid its pursuers.

A camel used for a nativity scene in Bonner Springs, Kansas, spent several days on the run before being captured. Photo: Courtesy of the Bonner Springs Police Department.

The next day the animal crossed parts of the K-7 freeway, and although it was spotted by many motorists, it again escaped capture. Images and videos of the animal quickly went viral. Police officials suggested on Facebook that the situation could “only be described as a scene from another cop movie.”

At one point, the Bonner Springs Police Department chased the camel on golf carts after it strayed onto a golf course. The camel visited several quarters before being cornered and roped by an animal control officer. Its owner then arrived to take possession of the nomadic creature.

“The camel has found its owners and is going to start doing things on camels again,” the Bonner Springs Police Department said in a statement posted on Facebook.

This isn’t the first time Kansas police have had to respond to an escaped camel over the holiday season. In December 2019, police in Goddard, Kansas reported a trio of traveling animals consisting of a camel, cow and donkey. Soon after, the camel was reunited with its owners, but not before viral photo comparisons with an actual Nativity scene.

Similar incidents did not always end so obediently. In 1997, a camel who escaped mid-performance of a Nativity show on the Isle of Kent, Md., was struck and killed by a passing automobile.

A 2010 dress rehearsal for a Nativity play at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach went wrong when a camel slipped and crashed into the congregation. Neither the camel nor the actor playing one of the wise men were injured in the fall, although the camel, known as Lula Bell, was removed from live performance “for safety reasons” .

Animal rights groups have long complained about the use of live animals in nurseries, but, due to their size, camels are of particular concern. A two-humped Bactrian camel can weigh over 2,000 pounds.

“Camels aren’t even fully mature until they are 7 years old,” PETA said in a Declaration 2020 condemning the use of all live animals in nurseries. “But many are bound to happen long before that. In the wild, these gentle, social animals, which gently blow each other’s faces in saying hello, would travel with their family herds.”

Long-legged animals have deep roots in America. Camels closely related to Old World camels and llamas were once native to North America. The last surviving species, known as camelops, died out 13,000 years ago.

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