SINCE HIS BIRTH IN 1998, Rama the cama has been the planet's only offspring of a llama mother and a camel father, and his has been a lonely, dateless existence. To tell the truth, Rama isn't the smoothest operator: He does occasionally cavort with female llamas, which goes pretty welluntil he tries to mount them from the wrong end. But earlier this year, Rama's prospects for love improved 100 percent when Kamilah, the second cama, was born at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai.
Illustration by John Cuneo
Funded by His Highness General Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, the cama project is an attempt to combine the best qualities of the camelid family in a compact beast of burden half the size of a camel, with a good attitude and great hair. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way. Rama has identity issues the size of the Sahara, and though he came with a sturdy, flat back, he's developed an ornery disposition. And his hair? Well, at least the poor guy's got one thing going for him.
Lulu Skidmore, 39, the British creator of the cama program, says Rama has, understandably, had a little trouble finding the camelid of his dreams. Skidmore even built a full-sized love doll to ease his pain. "We introduced him to it, but he looked a bit suspicious." With the birth of Kamilah, who should reach sexual maturity in a couple years, things may be looking up for Rama. Then again, all the fuss might be for naughtlike the similarly hybrid mule, camas may turn out to be sterile.