Meet the Camels Saving the Mojave’s Joshua Trees

Four years ago, a fire tore through the Mojave National Preserve, destroying some 1.3 million Joshua Trees, or about a quarter of the population. Restoration efforts would prove difficult. During the Ice Age, large mammals like ground sloths would move seeds around as they fed on the trees, making them plentiful. Now, that role is left up to small rodents who aren’t nearly as effective.

To spur growth, humans would have to plant new trees themselves. But the desert is an inhospitable place, and the volunteers who signed up needed some way to get around.

Enter Herbie, Sully, and Chico – three camels from Sylmar who are helping the volunteers navigate Route 66.

The trio has been helping out since 2021. Each of them has a distinct personality, owner Jennifer Lagusker tells LAist. Herbie – the largest one – leads the pack. But it’s the smallest one, Chico, who “tells the others what to do." As for Sully, “he likes to keep his nose right next to Herbie's butt — like a security."

The camels carry the water and seedlings on long trips through the Mojave. When it’s time to stop and take a break, they nuzzle their riders. They were made for this – and their work is invaluable to the region’s scarred ecosystem.

Read more about Herbie, Sully and Chico here


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Monday, January 29, 2024 - 11:03

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