Camel Life, LLC is the creation of a hard working and dedicated New England family.
Company visionaries and co-founders Stephanie and Robb Heering conceived the concept of Camel Life after “rescuing” a two month old baby dromedary camel…who, in Robb’s eyes, was being abused and mistreated by his traveling petting zoo owners.
Here’s how it all started.
One day in early 2015, at the urging of a friend, Robb visited a local fair and strolled through the petting zoo section. He saw a variety of animals, baby goats, a few cows, a zebra, and a baby camel. The baby camel looked scared and frail and was being forced (via sedation) to sit most of the day so that fairgoers could touch him and attempt to feed him with $1 per handful grain.
Robb saw the staff people feed the camel a tiny bottle of watered down milk and he witnessed the staff injecting the baby camel with what was later found to be a sedative…..to keep the camel sitting pretty up close to fairgoers and he decided to ask about the camel. The camel was only 2 months old and had been taken from his mother to join the traveling petting zoo.
Robb decided he wanted to rescue that baby camel and provide a better life for him.
Long story short, long negotiation short, the camel was acquired and trailered away from the fair and brought to a farm to live among 30 or so polo ponies.
Okay, so a guy has a camel. Now what?
Robb’s wife Stephanie…..now the President of Camel Life, Inc. named the baby boy camel “Sheik”.
They bottle fed Sheik 3 times a day for the next 5 months, then twice a day for another few months…and then weaned Sheik off of milk and onto grain, hay, carrots, and other goodies.
The milk Sheik drank was a powdered goats milk concoction….because camel milk is very rare (more on that later).
A year later and Sheik grew from an 80 pound baby to a nearly 800 pound growing baby boy. By the way, Sheik turned 3 years old in November, 2017 and weighed in at 1600 pounds. During that first year Robb began to research camels and discovered that camels milk had some amazing nutritional and medicinal properties.
The camel research shifted to hard core camel dairy research, telephone calls with camel farmers worldwide, trips to places like the United Arab Emirates, and lots of calculations to figure out the economics of camel milk.
Liquid Gold as its called, Camel Milk, has been consumed by Bedouin, nomadic, and pastoral cultures since the domestication of camels thousands of years ago. Ancient cultures in the middle east have long ago understood the value of camel milk.
Camel milk is a more environmentally friendly than cows milk, as camel’s do not need the massive amounts of grazing area like goats and cows, thereby leaving the world a bit greener, and filled with less methane gas. For generations, camel milk has primarily been only for subsistence in those cultures, but given the undeniable health benefits of camel milk as compared to more traditional forms of milk, there has been a major increase in camel milk farming. However, it is extremely expensive to harvest camel milk, approximately fifty times more expensive than cow milk, which makes it considerably more expensive.
Lets understand the mechanics and economics of camel milk.
First- Camels generally need their babies with them in order to lactate and drop milk. The gestation period for a camel averages about 410 days (13-14 months), and a camel doesn’t sexually mature until age 5. After the camel gives birth, she wont get pregnant for another 2-3 years. Also camels will average 2 gallons of milk production daily. Unlike a cow, a camel can decisively shut down milk production. Typically, once the camel starts dropping milk, the farmer has 90 seconds to squeeze out what they can.
This is in stark contrast to cows, who, after they give birth will produce milk regardless of where the calf is, and will produce about 8 gallons of milk per day for more than a year. Once they dry up (about a year later), they can become pregnant again…and produce a new calf every year. Hence, pretty much non-stop milk.
So, if you’re good at math you realize that producing camels milk is gigantically less efficient and much more costly than producing cows milk.
Lets talk about scarcity here in the USA. There are only about 3,000 dromedary camels in the USA. Of those, studies have shown that roughly 60 percent of them are male, of the remaining 1,200 or so female camels, more than 60 percent of those are in zoo’s, petting zoo’s traveling fairs and carnivals….and are not breeding. Less than 100 of the remaining 400 or so female camels even have the possibility of producing milk. So, if you had 50 female camels all producing milk at the same time, this would necessarily mean that you have at least 100 camels….because each mother needs her baby present in order to lactate. Several small, family farms in America are home to camels and many of those farmers (especially in Amish and Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Michigan) currently milk their camels….typically 1-2 camels milking at a time. In fact, rumor has it that the Amish were the first Americans to milk camels. We can thank the Amish for their ingenuity and animal husbandry skills.
So, back to the story.
The folks at Camel Life decided they wanted to be in the business of creating, manufacturing, and selling personal care, cosmeceutical, and nutritional products made with only the finest organic ingredients and pure, all natural, cruelty free, sustainably sourced camel milk….SO THAT THEY COULD FUND THEIR NON PROFIT, INTERNATIONAL CAMEL RESCUE, INC. (A 501C3 IRS APPROVED CHARITY) AND BEGIN TO RESCUE ABUSED ND AT RISK CAMELS GLOBALLY AND TO EDUCATE OTHERS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAMELS AND CAMEL MILK. THE EDUCATIONAL PORTION OF THE NON-PROFIT INCLUDES EDUCATING AND CONSULTING WITH THOSE WHO WISH TO BEGIN CAMEL DAIRY OPERATIONS, BOTH IN THE USA AND ABROAD.
After more than a year of working with organic chemists, formulators, and experts in the fields of organic cosmetics, organic foods, dairy products, and manufacturing, Camel Life perfected recipes and formulas for more than a dozen proprietary products ranging from Camel Milk Baby Wash, to Shower Gels, Body Butters, Protein Shakes and more. We are proud to use all organic ingredients and PURE Camel Milk!
We encourage you to try our products. We guarantee your satisfaction! A portion of all proceeds benefits International Camel Rescue, Inc. How big a portion? For calendar year 2017 and 2018, 100% of all profits go directly to support the mission of our charity.