Monte The Baby Camel Is The Newest Star of Metro Richmond Zoo’s Live Nativity

Meet Monte.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Workers at the Metro Richmond Zoo are busy as elves making the place festive for a holiday tradition.

They expect as many as 10,000 people will flock here for the 12th annual Miracle of Christmas. It’s a live nativity scene with actors, animals and music.

“It’s just a great night to be able to bring your family out and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and thats the birth of Jesus Christ,” explains zoo owner Jim Andelin.

This year, there’s a new cast member of the Miracle of Christmas. His name is Monte. He’s an 8-month-old camel with a very special story.

Monte’s an understudy of sorts, taking over a role his mother Miranda played since this pageant started.

For 15 years, the zoo’s owner tried unsuccessfully to breed Miranda.

Suddenly last April, she gave birth to Monte. Not long after that, Miranda passed away.

“So we feel like that was her gift to the Miracle of Christmas and to take her place and so this year, we’re excited to bring Monte out,” says Andelin.

He doesn’t have any lines, but Monte is being trained on the route he’ll walk during the nativity.

Like any actor will tell you, being in the spotlight can be a little unnerving. But even if Monte makes a misstep, the show will go on.

His handler explains, “He has a little stage fright. He sees new things, makes him a little nervous.”

A Christmas Miracle, Live at the Zoo, takes the stage on Sunday night.

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