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What's in a name? Common name misuse potentially confounds the conservation of the wild camel Camelus ferus

Jemmett, Anna M, Groombridge, Jim J., Hare, John, Yadamsuren, Adiya, Burger, Pamela A., Ewen, John G. (2023) What's in a name? Common name misuse potentially confounds the conservation of the wild camel Camelus ferus. Oryx, 57 (2). pp. 175-5179. ISSN 0030-6053. (doi:10.1017/S0030605322000114) (KAR id:95676)


Common names allow species diversity to be acknowledged by experts and non-specialists alike; they are descriptors with both scientific and cultural implications. However, a lack of clarity when using a common name could risk altering perceptions of threatened species. This is the case for the Critically Endangered wild camel Camelus ferus, which, despite extensive evidence of its species status, is frequently referred to in English as wild Bactrian camel. However, the wild camel (Mongolian: хавтгай, khavtgai; Chinese: 野骆驼, ye luo tuo) is not a wild version of the domestic Bactrian camel Camelus bactrianus but a separate species near extinction, with an estimated population of c. 950. Failure to clearly separate Bactrian and wild camels in name risks masking the plight of the few remaining wild camels with the visible abundance of the domesticated species. Here we advocate the use of the accurate English common name wild camel for C. ferus ideally alongside its Indigenous names to correctly represent its cultural and conservation importance.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0030605322000114
Uncontrolled keywords: Camelus ferus, common name, conservation, wild camel
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Jim Groombridge
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 10:50 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2023 12:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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