The Ur-chow is an unknown camel reported to live in the mountainous subarctic forests of western Canada, particularly around the Nisga’a nation near the Seward Peninsula and the fittingly named Camelsfoot Range in central BC, up into the Central Yukon territory. The British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club (BSCC) did interviews to various locals, most being Indigenous peoples like the Tutchone and Nisga’a. They described them as resembling camels, with large bottom teeth which they use to scrape bark off of trees, which is their main source of food. There are very few sightings, with most just being brief glimpses by local hunters. One sighting was in the 1950’s, when campers in Thompson County claimed to have seen camels silhouetted on nearby ridges. In the same area 20 years before, a woman claimed to have seen a wild-looking camel eating vegetables in her garden.
A common theory is that the ur-chow are surviving populations of the famous “Cariboo Camels” that travelled north. The Cariboo camels were 23 Bactrian camels that arrived in central British Columbia to haul freight for prospectors during the Cariboo Gold Rush in the early 1860’s. The last Cariboo camels were thought to have went extinct in 1905, when the last known specimen, “Lady”, died in the woods near what is now Westwold, BC. This theory does hold water, as camels are known to be surprisingly hardy animals, and could have easily survived in small numbers, undetected in the remote British Columbian wilderness. Another theory is that the ur-chow is Indigenous folk memory or a surviving population, known primarily by First Nations, of Paracamelus, or high arctic camel, which inhabited Beringia, Alaska and northern Canada as recently as 10,000 years ago. There are similar reports of wild camels in North America in the Mojave Desert, where they are known locally as the red ghost.