The Utica Zoo is mourning the sudden passing of their Bactrian camel Nigel.

Although the case of death is unknown, Nigel had been under veterinarian care for arthritis and complications of aging over the last couple of years.  Zoo officials are awaiting necropsy results from Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine.

Nigel was born in 2000 at the St. Louis Zoological Park and arrived at the Utica Zoo in 2001.

In 2014, the Utica Zoo built a custom training window at the camel exhibit.  Since then visitors have been able to see Nigel and his companion Najla from just a few feet away.

“Nigel was an ambassador for a critically endangered species. For sixteen years he stole the hearts of thousands of guests, and sent the message that these beautiful beings have a place on this earth. He will be greatly missed.”  said Alexandra Weaver, Lead Keeper: Asian Realm