A herd of camels in the Gobi desert
The wild two-humped Bactrian camel (camelus bactrianus ferus) is indigenous to Mongolia. It was domesticated at least three thousand years ago. The camel is one of the tavunhorshoo,'five snouts,' the five domesticated animals of Mongolia on which the country's herding economy depends: horse, cow/yak, sheep, goat, and camel. Camels are raised all over Mongolia, but are found particularly in the four Gobi aimags (provinces) in the south.
The camel can carry at least 200 kilos of goods and walks at five kilometers per hour in its peculiar rolling gait. In other words, it is as fast as a packhorse, and has three times the carrying capacity. Unloaded, a camel can outrun a horse. In winter it continues to work through minus-twenty-degree temperatures. Because of the camel, the semi-deserts of the Gobi have not formed a barrier between Mongolia and the south. Even now, camels carry up to thirty percent of the cargo traffic in the Gobi.