Camel attacks, injures Rifle man
Vail, CO Colorado
RIFLE ” A man was attacked and severely injured by a camel on his property north of the city Monday. Erik Kallstrom, who lives on Highway 13, was attacked while working with one of three camels he owns with his wife Carrie Click Kallstrom.
According to an e-mail statement from Carrie Kallstrom, Erik Kallstrom was injured during a training session with a bull camel.
The bull camel involved in the incident is a 19-year-old dromedary, or one-humped camel.
According to people who are familiar with the accident and asked to remain anonymous, the camel reportedly bit, kicked and lay down on Kallstrom, who was able to extricate himself from underneath the animal. Dromedaries can weigh more than 2,000 pounds and may be taller than 10 feet.
Kallstrom was taken to the Grand River Medical Center emergency room Monday evening and was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction because of the severity of his injuries. He is currently in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
His condition was unknown at press time, but according to the Kallstrom statement, he is expected to make a full recovery.
The Kallstroms purchased three camels last year, and they have become familiar sights at local parades recently. The camels were purchased by the Kallstroms from a lodge near Moab, Utah, which ran camel treks.
The Kallstroms’ have a camel trekking business, C2K Camel Ranch.
According to Carrie Kallstrom’s statement, the bull camel involved in the incident was “isolated and will never be part of any activities at the C2K Camel Ranch.”
The camel tours are on hold while Erik Kallstrom recovers.
Such an attack would be out of character for a camel, according to a Fruita camel owner.
“Camels by nature are not mean at all,” said Maggie Repp, who has raised and trained camels at her ranch in Fruita for nine years. She suggested a stud or intact male camel could pose a danger to humans when in rut, or mating season.
“They go into rut like an elk or deer. When they’re in rut you don’t want to bother them,” she said.
Erik Kallstrom is a longtime local resident and one-time farrier and ski instructor in the area.
Carrie Click Kallstrom is the editor of the Rifle Citizen Telegram newspaper. She also writes a column for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, where she has written several articles about the camels she owns with Erik. Both newspapers are operated by Colorado Mountain News Media, the parent company of the Vail Daily.