Camels on beauty parade

I’ve had a post that I was going to write about the recent purchase by Dubai’s crown prince of a camel for a record $A2.9 million during a desert festival in the emirate of Abu Dhabi – just down the road from here.  But yesterday, Kim Sbarcea got in first and wrote a long and entertaining post about this event and she seemed perplexed that someone could pay so much for an animal at a camel beauty pageant.

Well as the adage goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The camels that I have seen here are indeed beautiful – long legs, wonderful skin, gorgeous long eyelashes, shapely lips – but the wild ones are quite wary and of course, as with most things of base animal attraction (especially of the female variety), they can spit and bite if you get too close!

This beauty parade featured 10,000 (or maybe 17,000 depending on which article you read) of these ships of the desert with prizemoney totalling 35 million dirhams (about 10 million Aussie dollars) and they throw in 100 cars as well. 

It’s all part of preserving the cultural heritage of the UAE.  Only a couple of generations ago, where I sit now in the middle of a busy metropolis was a sandy desert with just a few goat and camel herders. 

The price that they are paying for these animals clearly shows why I don’t see camel on the menu anywhere in any of the restaurants around here!  On the back country roads, you have to be very careful not to hit a camel, not the least of the damage that it could do to your car but also the amount that you would have to pay to the owner of the camel in recompense.

what beauty!

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2 Responses to “Camels on beauty parade”

  1. thinkingshift Says:

    ah, Luke: I see you have been gathering the camel knowledge! I’m a bit concerned for you though: when you start thinking that a camel has shapely lips, long legs and gorgeous eyelashes – it might be time to get out of that Dubai sun. Do you have an stats on the camel population ie due to all the rapid urbanisation going on there, have camel numbers dramatically declined? any rare camel species under threat? (actually, I am very interested in this!).
    Kim

  2. Luke Naismith Says:

    I will do a bit more research and post again on the topic Kim. But in brief, camel population has gone from 100,000 thirty years ago to 250,000 today, causing significant overgrazing concerns. There are 14,000 active racing camels which is a major economic activity employing at least 9000 people. Not sure about the various breeds of camels as yet. But the domestic camels are incredibly well cared for – the wild ones are not and suffer from ingesting plastic bags which are lying around everywhere.

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