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Flathead Valley ranch has exotic mammal with his own fan club

Carlos the camel.jpg
Posted at 11:02 AM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 13:02:41-05

KALISPELL — A yak is not a common livestock animal in Montana but neither is a camel -- yet at Spring Brook Yak Ranch you can find both.

Carlos is the ranches' Bactrian camel, which is primarily bred to be in the Gobi Desert.

“It's one of the harshest environments on the planet and so he fits right in with where we live,” said Jim Watson, who owns Spring Brook with his wife Carol Bibler.

Watson inherited the yak ranch from his father-in-law and got Carlos during a trade for a yak heifer and bull from a ranch in Colorado. Seven years later the lovable -- and photogenic -- mammal has fans that stop by just to see him.

“He really does have his own fan club that people just come and go and bring him treats and say hello in love on him,” said Watson.

Watson is especially close to Carlos, "he's my pet. We like each other."

The ranch doesn’t just keep the seven-foot, camera loving animal to themselves, so they partnered with Ruder Elementary in Columbia Falls, giving tours of the ranch to five to 600 students but, that changed.

“This year of course with COVID we did no tours at all," said Christy Novak, the on-site "yak whisperer."

But Watson says that being able to connect with each of the animals on the farm from his yaks, to miniature horses to Carlos, makes ranching livestock a little more special.

“Agriculture is different when you’re not trying to make a living out of it,” said Watson.

Watson and Novak hope to be able to start up the education program again in May when hopefully it can be safe for the students to meet Carlos.