Right now I’m going back home from the desert camel farm. I met by chance at a grazing and roaming camel herd. It is 3 p.m. on 22 June 2023 (World Camel Day), the longest and one of the hottest days of the year. It is 45 C. You can see the camels grazing on highly adapted shrubs/bushes enjoying the challenging weather (absorbing heat now which will dissipate in the night). I’m talking from my car and making a video, already released on the YouTube channel Camelogist.
In 2009, the author conceptualized the idea of a World Camel Day (WCD) to aware people of the importance of camels as food security agents in climate change scenarios. Here is the link to read about the history of World Camel Day.
Why do we choose the date of 22nd June as World Camel Day?
In the original habitat of camel (Arabian Peninsula), 21 June is the longest and hottest day of the year. Camel sustains its performance in such harsh and hostile environments.
Further important reading about the World Camel Day
I always tried to spend my time with the camels’ related explorations and research work. This year (2023) I visited 2 important camel communities;
1. Dhofari camels in Salalah Oman
2. Somali camel community in the Somali Region of Ethiopia (Jigjiga)
Here is my take on the case study in Ethiopia
I visited 2 farms (semi-intensive camel dairies) and many mobile camel herds in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. The camels are very healthy, active, and kept at a very high level of well-being. The pastoralists and the emerging camel dairy herders are keeping camels in a very good state of situation. The camels have the freedom of roaming and grazing on natural pastures. They consume diverse types of flora, some flora are rich in nutrients for camels, some act as medicine keeping animals healthy, and some flora have higher transferability from healthy promising nutrients from the camel to the consumers through camel products, esp milk.
1. Higher demand for camel milk
There is a high demand for camel milk in the Somali region of Ethiopia, the same is the phenomenon in most parts of East, Central, and West Africa. The camel herders attain very reasonable prices for camel milk. The price per kg is 3 USD in the Somali Region of Ethiopia (SRE). The camel milk is provided to those customers who have already registered for camel milk. The milk quality is very good, coming from naturally grazing camels. The surroundings of the camel farms are very clean naturally and rich with a lot of diverse vegetation and trees. No flies, ticks, or other problems in the near surroundings were noticed. I shot many videos and images and documented a lot of facts about camel dairying in SRE.
2. Camel milk taste is driven by what they eat (sweet milk)
As for the flavor, unlike in cows, it is 100% dependent on what camels are eating. We can tell the difference between milk from camels feeding on dunes or on sebkhas (salty flats) near the sea, just a mile apart. With salty browsing, the milk leaves a pleasant salty taste on one’s lips, but from euphorbias on the dunes, it is much sweeter. When camels eat particular trees like Acacia (locally called Askaf) herders say the milk is incredibly healthy, and they love the taste, but in fact, it is a bit bitter and (to me) slightly unpleasant but the shrub grows in a particular environment and may well be as healthy as they say. Camel lactose is different from cow’s, having a different molecular structure which doesn’t cause any lactose intolerance issue. I found thestrange fact that the camel milk was sweeter like honey.
3. Bottling of raw milk
It is interesting that the milk is poured directly into bottles after milking, without even filtering (e.g. through a cloth). I thought a lot about asking the camel dairy entrepreneur to filter the milk after milking but decided that the cloth would not be washed or not washed well enough, so it would be more dangerous than just delivering the milk with all the dirt in inevitably in a rural desert setting it contains sand, hair, cells, insects, dust, etc. Another factor is that consumers in that sort of setting have nice strong immune systems, so there is less risk. Also, there is no H&S inspection to require any sanitary standards. I think it is optimistic to believe that there are no pathogens or insects involved, but the operation looks nicely thought out and done. Here is the link to a video about the bottling of camel milk in SRE.
I visited camel pastoralists in the Somali Region of Ethiopia (SRE), mainly Jigjiga and found very interesting and new facts about camels and pastoralism.
A very amazing piece of information about the camel population in the region is that there are 6.5 million camels in SRE. Please tell me your views in this regard. The total camel population in Ethiopia is more than 8 million. (as per oral information provided by Pastoral Bureau)
The other fact I found personally, is the taste of the milk of the Hoor or Hur camel breed in the the region. It was very strange for me as I have visited many different camel herding communities globally and tasted the milk of many camel types (Dromedary and Bactrian) but never found the taste like it was in the region. I drank camel milk in Jigjiga, and believe me the taste was like the taste of honey. The milk was acquired from the naturally grazing camels. There is a wide floral diversity and the camels consume it regularly while grazing/browsing in the rangelands.
When I shared this information in the Camel4Life International (camel advocacy forum) WhatsApp group, many cameleers from different parts of the world responded with their experience of the camel milk taste. https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/health/al-ain-doctor-sees-potential-in-camels-beyond-their-milk-1.51957 I can easily imagine! Our milk also can be very sweet (Ilse Kohler Rollefson, a German camel lover residing in Rajasthan with the camel herds). Dr Piers (camel owner and PhD in camel production from Kenya) responded as;
“My milk in Kenya does too, almost like coconut milk sweet. I am sure that the sweet flavour is the natural flavour of all free-ranging camels that have the liberty to choose what and how much they want to eat. Depending on the natural plants and ecology it can be salty, or sometimes very bitter if they eat flowering Vernonia shrubs for example. It’s like natural honey from bees, the flavour depends on the plants. Someone should open a shop selling all the different flavours of natural camel milk over the different seasons globally.
For further good reading about the incredible camels and my camel advocacy work, CLICK THE LINKS
Lactoferrin is the second major protein after casein found in camel milk. Lactoferrin increases the shelf life of the milk, therefore the camel milk with a higher content of lactoferrin (62–651 mg kg−1) has a longer shelf life without any external support. Some references are available below.
The camel herders use this quality of camel milk (Bio-preservative) to preserve camel milk (CaM) for a longer period of time. They just store camel milk in a skin bag (sheep/goat) let it get sour (fermentation) and then use it for a very long period of time.
Lactoferrin can also be used for the biopreservation of foods such as milk, meat, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, and their products to increase shelf life. While visiting the camel herder communities in different parts of the world, I found the unique fact that some communities use camel milk as a bio-preservative and add to other kinds of foods to increase their shelf life naturally.
CaM lactoferrin has several biological functions, including iron metabolism, promoting immune function, and providing defense against pathogens through its bacteriostatic and/or bactericidal properties. Some scientists have named lactoferrin as the micro-bullet, killing the pathogens. For further reading about the natural healing power of CaM, please click the link.
The structure of the feature image is taken from the article with the citation below. TY – JOUR, Pirkhezranian, Zana, Tahmoorespur, Mojtaba, Monhemi, Hassan, Sekhavati, Mohammad Hadi. PY – 2020/12/01 SP – T1 – Computational Peptide Engineering Approach for Selection the Best Engendered Camel Lactoferrin-Derive Peptide with Potency to Interact with DNA VL – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10989-019-10012-7 JO – International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics ER –
The camels are marked or branded for 2 purposes; 1. Identification (family mark) 2. Treatment of ailment, especially tendons and ligaments
The mark or the mark is a specific sign that is placed on a specific place in the body of the camel so that the owner of this camel is known, and it is ironed with fire. Some tribes/families with their identity signs in the following lines. The marking on camel skin is almost equally common in all camel communities in the world.
The name of camels among the Arab Bedouins has deep connotations other than the fact that it differentiates between them. The camels are marked with a starting point after reaching a year and a half, about 18 months. It is marked in the groin or neck area, or sometimes both
Azila puts (a family name tag) that distinguishes it from the rest of the tribe.
Al-Sima had a role in preserving the camels, and the invaders, when they found the camels, had the hands of one of the strong tribes, avoiding their invasion of the power of their people.
The material for this post was provided mainly by Muhammad, a camel lover and activist from Morocco.
MERS was first detected in 2012. But since then, it has been regularly reported from multiple countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is an illness that can cause respiratory infection. It is caused by a common type of virus called coronavirus. These viruses cause mild to moderate respiratory illness. But in some cases the symptoms are severe.
The Latest News (July 2023) of MERS
A 28-year-old man hastested positive for (MERS-CoV) in Alain, Abu Dhabi on the border with Oman, the World Health Organization said on Monday. The affectee had no contact with the camels.
There is no immediate cause for worry or concern, a public health analyst and epidemiologist have told Down To Earth (DTE) a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a man had been infected with the deadly Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Dr. Abdul Raziq Kakar, international camel dairying consultant, founder of World Camel Day, and Camel4Life International, who resides in Al Ain, however, told DTE that the case should not be used to villainize camels.
A MERS Case Reported was from UAE in February 2021
The case is a 39-year-old male national, owner of a camel farm. He developed a fever and cough on 18 January and visited a private hospital several times with no improvement. The condition of the case worsened, and on 24 January, a chest X-ray confirmed the diagnosis of pneumonia. On 26 January, he was admitted to a private hospital and was transferred to a governmental hospital on 28 January. A nasopharyngeal swab was collected on 31 January and tested positive for MERS-CoV by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on 1 February at the Shiekh Khalifa Medical Center laboratory in Abu Dhabi. He has no underlying conditions. SARS-CoV-2 testing was performed more than once, and it was negative. No history of previous infection or exposure to SARS-CoV-2 was reported. The case reported a history of close contact with dromedary camels at his farm in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. No travel history was reported during the same period. Currently, the patient is in stable condition. https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2021-DON314
Is MERS Really Transmitting from Camel?
It is the burning question of the day. An article was published in a local newspaper regarding the presence of MERS-CoV in camel nasal discharge. As per the ‘The National’ newspaper report, the MERS-CoV is present in almost the majority of the camels in Africa and the Middle East.
Bats and Camels are the Natural Reservoirs of MERS CoV
MERS-CoV is found in Bats and camels both. Both animals are the reservoirs for it. One Chinese study revealed that it is found in the Bat only.
Conclusive Remarks of Famous Camelogists
According to Bernard Faye (the famous camelogist and veterinarian), in his camel farm in KSA, all the camels were MERS-CoV positive but there was no sign of Virus transmission among the workers. Also, no camel showed signs of infection in the 3 years period of time. (Pers. Comm.)
The author (Camelogist Dr. Abdul Raziq Kakar) has been working closely with camels for the last 9 years and has contact with at least 400 camels daily. Also, many members of my team have close contact with camels on a daily basis. We have not noticed any camel or human has shown any sign of sickness. But if we check the nasal and fecal samples, we will find the viruses and other microorganisms including MERS CoV.
Many other colleagues (camel owners, farmers, workers, and more) said that they had not noticed any such infection. According to a very reputable research study conducted by Dr. Wernery and his team (Wernery is the scientific director of the central veterinary lab of Dubai), the virus is rarely transmitted from camel to human.
Some very important and conclusive remarks/findings
Only there is very little chance of transmission for those who are already very weak and sick and facing immuno-depression.
It does not affect the camel’s health either.
Only nasal discharge can be noticed in newborn calves infected with MERS
The virus is found in nasal discharge and transmitted via nasal way, therefore studies conducted used nasal swabs as the source of the virus
The camel products, especially the milk and meat are 100% safe as this virus has no viability below 4C and above 20C
Also, the virus is not discharged in milk and meat. There is no reason to consider that camel milk or meat could be a way of contamination as the virus is excreted only by the respiratory way
The deep reality
When I read much more about MERS and camels, I reached the conclusion that blaming camels for MERS is a political/business motive to terrify the people and sell vaccines in the future. In business, there is no rule at all.
The take-home message
So there are no worries, do not avoid camel products. Please use camel milk as before. Camel milk is a natural pharmacy, that boosts immunity and keeps infections at bay.
A desert explorer in the UAE, commonly known as a “camelogist,” is someone who specializes in the study and understanding of camels and their behavior in desert environments. These experts have extensive knowledge of camel physiology, behavior, and their adaptations to survive in arid regions. They often work closely with local communities and organizations to promote sustainable camel husbandry practices and conserve camel populations. Camelogists may also play a crucial role in camel racing events, camel milk production, and research related to camel health and genetics. Their expertise contributes to the overall understanding and conservation of camels in the UAE’s desert ecosystems.
While camelogists may not be as well-known as some other fields of study, there are several notable experts and researchers who have made significant contributions to the field.
Here are a few well-known camelogists
1. Dr. Bernard Faye: A renowned French veterinarian and camel specialist who has extensively researched and worked with camels in various regions, including the UAE and Africa.
3. Dr. Ulrich Wernery: A German veterinarian and researcher who has focused on camel diseases, camel reproduction, and camel milk production in arid regions.
4. Dr. Ilse Köhler-Rollefson: An ethno-veterinarian and camel advocate who has worked with pastoral communities in India and Rajasthan, promoting sustainable camel husbandry and conservation.
These are just a few examples of individuals who have dedicated their careers to studying camels and their role in desert ecosystems and human societies. There are many other researchers, veterinarians, and experts around the world contributing to the field of camelogy.
Like before, World Camel Day was celebrated this year in different parts of the world. The author of this important day (Dr. Abdul Raziq Kakar) participated in the events held in Alain and Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.
Visit of the Camel Lovers, activists, researchers,s and businessmen to the Alain Farm (Camelait Milk)
The Camel Post Cards in Camel Day Event Dubai
The speakers talked about camel and camel milk
Some random clicks from the event
Some very important but basic information about the World Camel Day.
Practical experience with a big herd of dairy camels
Practically, I have been working with camels since 2004 ((almost 18 years). For the last 9 years, I’m working as a technical manager with an entity of camel milk production farm in the UAE. We have very high-yielding camels, and some of them are producing extraordinary quantities (>15kg/day).
Feeding regime for the lactating camels
In routine, we provide Alfalfa hay (adlib) plus TMR (total mix ratio with 15% CP and 75 %TDN) about 5-7 kg/lactating camel. The camels producing up to 10 kg of milk can fulfill their nutrient requirements (esp. CP and energy) from this feeding regime but the high yield (10 and above) can’t fulfill their requirements, especially the energy and vitamins.
For a lactating camel who produces up to 10 kg of milk per day, the net energy (NE) and crude protein (CP) requirements are 95 MJ and 200 g respectively.
The high-yielding camels go to a negative nutrient balance (energy), usually, the camel gets sick, mostly because of ketosis (to fulfill the energy requirements from fats, ketone bodies are produced) which depress the immunity. Many blood tests become positive, enzymes are up and down, fever, off-feeding, etc. happen. Usually, the Vets misunderstand the situation and follow the results of the tests. They inject high doses of antibiotics, antiprotozoal, and others, resulting in the body’s mechanism collapse.
Complex stress in dairy camels
Complex stress of high yielding and a lower energy intake almost kills the camels. The last straw is overdosing on medicine (chemicals and drugs) for the so-called treatment. In such conditions, additional energy allowance, feeding of herbs (native plants), and giving special care to the individual camels are really very practical and helpful. The camel is like birds (the birds and camels have the same Hemoglobin, oval shape), very sensitive to the fungus in feed, and highly reluctant to drugs (especially injections and infusions).
Recovery after high-energy diets and feeding with native plants additionally
In some cases with high-yielding elite camels, I restricted the treatment with drugs but only systematic treatment (antipyretics and vitamins) was allowed. We put them separately and provided cornflakes or date syrup with salts and desert plants (Detrigium glaucum, Zygophyllum qatarenses, Calligonum comosum). Such a feeding cum boosting mechanism really helped and the camels started recovering in a week. Here is a video of a very high-yielding camel that recovered in a week, from zero milk to 20 kg/day again.
A bunch of native herb provides more nutrients and medicine than a cartoon of factory made drugs.
Dr. Raziq Kakar
Keeping the animals (especially the camels) stress-free and happy is actually keeping the camels healthy. Better to void stressful treatment with antibiotics and shifting such high-yielding camels to energy-rich feeding mechanisms really helps. The local herbs (flora) really help and provide unknown health-promising nutrients.
Here are some important links about camel dairying in the following lines.
The facial design and structure can’t predict the milk production potential
The camels look different based on their phenotypes (visual appearance) but they almost have very similar traits for the production. The visuals are from the milking camels at the milking parlor in Alain, apparently, they have different faces, nostrils, eyes, eyelids hair but they all are producing almost the same quantity of milk. Based on the record, their milk is more than 10 liters per camel per day. Maybe to some extent, we can guess the high-yielding camels by their face (imagining the breed for high yield) but with little accuracy. Here is a short video of the faces.
Dhofar is centric on the frankness trade and history of the region. Almost 60% of the Omani camels are inhibited in the Dhofar region which is predominantly comprised of the Dhofari or Khawar breed followed by MAHALI (a thorough crossbred of Khawar, Majaheem, and Brela). Such a combination is also called a MUHAJAN or Majajan. Khawara is resistant to mange (to a high level), beautiful in color, docile, and a good milch breed. A rich color diversity, having dark brown, light brown, fawn, reddish, white, and creamy red colors, color diversity comes with the diversity of landscapes and ecosystems. With a medium-sized head, the breed has a deer’s mouth (Their lower lip is not hanging like other fellows of the desert). They have a medium head with a medium-sized neck and ears.
Like other camel fellows, Khawarah is a multipurpose animal, performing many tasks for their owners but milk production tops the other features in the Khawarah camels. There are some very important arguments proving it is a fashoosh camel. Fashoosh means a friendly camel with highly desirable teats and udder with very easy milking.
Habitat of Khawara or Dhofari camel breed
Mostly found in the Southeastern Arabian Peninsula. True specimens of the breeds are found in the Dhofar region, especially Salalah. The nucleus herds of the breed with purity are found in the mountainous region of Salalah, where they can browse on good woody vegetation of combtree (anogeissus dhofarica), Acacia, and other trees and shrubs.
Khawar is one of the dairy queens
Based on my personal long experience with dairy camels, our best high-yielding and easy-milking camels are mainly from the Khawarah breed. I have been working with the world’s most modern and pioneer camel dairy in the world. They have medium-sized teats with strongly attached but deep udder. The teats are conical in shape and very well fit for the machine milking. They have very good milking ability and shorter actual milking time (AMT) in the machine milking because of their behavior and well-fit teat size.
The cameleers have maintained the pure genetic line of the breed and they have strong oral and traditional knowledge about the genealogy and husbandry of the breed. Here you can find the best specimens of the breeds with a promising yield of milk up to 35 kg/day.
The idea of the Global Camel Research and Development Network has already been floated. Many members from different quarters of the world have joined. The camel scientists working in the field are part of the network. The organization will work in 4 main areas; 1. Supporting research with small grants and technical support (supervisory help) with at least 2 scholarships each year. 2. Developing training material for research and products development 3. CAMEL magazine quarterly, the website camel4all.info will be the posting domain 4. Bi-annual zoom meeting and a conference once in 2 years (physical)
The Body of the Network
A body of working groups will work together to smoothly run the network and support the camel research and development.
APresident and general secretary: President will be responsible for the whole organization and the general secretary will keep the communication and record of the whole interactions and happenings
BProposal review committee: Each year, the committee will call for small grant research proposals, 2 research will be allocated with grants. The president will send the fund in 2 episodes. The researchers will communicate with the head of the committee, and satisfy the committee members.
CEditing and reviewing committee of the CAMEL: Each quarter, the CAMEL magazine will be released. The editor and his team will perform this task. At least 3 articles/field reports, first-hand information of the field, etc will be posted and the maximum can be 6 reports
D Training material production and reviewing committee: The committee will be responsible for finalizing training material for each task like milking, product development, etc.
Please come, join and play your role
I invite you to join our network and play your role in the camel research and development area. Just joining will not help the camel production and research but playing an active and useful role will certainly be useful. Please share the link in your circles and find support for the network. We are not earning from networking, all working voluntarily. The author has already sponsored the first small grant for the research.
Visit of Mongolian Bactrian camels and their Ecosystem
In April 2018, the author visited Mongolia, especially the Gobi desert to visit the Bactrian camel herders and explore the potential of camels in their unique ecosystem. The details of the survey report can be read at the link.
Types of camel
There are 3 types of Bactrian camels in the region, i.e.
Galba Gobiin Ulaan (Reddish-colored camel)
Khaniin Khestiin Khuren (Brown colored camel)
Thukhum MTungologiin kKhos Zogdott Khuren (double line neck hair)
The breeding season starts in October and reached its peak in December and slowly declines and ceases in April. Usually, one Bull is enough for up to 70 she-camels. The details of the production traits are given in the table below.
Table: The Production Traits of the Bactrian camel in the region
Conception Rate (%)
Avg. Milk (kg)
Breeding season, Percentile of fertility, and milk production
The milk production potential and the lactation curve
Though the Bactrian milk production potential is lower (1-3 liter/day) compared to the Arabian camel (5-15 liter/day), the Bactrian milk is thicker (up to 14% total solids) and full of energy to give special strength to the calf to survive in challenging cold environment. The average milk production based on my survey is 640 ml/day (< 1 kg/day) with a lactation yield of 233 kg. The lactation here is calculated on the annual basis but in actuality, the camel produces for up to 8 months, producing 185 liters in 250 days. Here milk production means the milk which was harvested by the milker keeping in view the calf requirements.
Bactrian camel milk composition
Milk composition derived from scientific literature for Bactrian
Physical-chemical characterizations of Mongolian Bactrian camel milk
Comparative composition reported from Mongolia by GansaiKhan et al 2011
Some Important Notes about the Bactrian camel Milk
The BCaM has higher contents of long chain (polyunsaturated) fatty acids (Mostly C18:1), safe for our heart and circulation system.
The BCaM has higher contents of Vit. A and Vit. C, providing additional vitality and survivability to cell life and health.
BCaM is rich with Immunoglobulin (considered as supper immune bullets) enabling our health to resist all types of infectious microbiomes.
The above facts are equally true for Arabian camel milk (ACaM).
Camel Milk Products
The nomads use camel milk as fresh directly. The surplus is converted into a fermented product (Hormook). The Hormook is used very widely and some products are available in the market in Ulaanbaatar. For further details about Bactrian milk, you can go to the link Detailed Nutritional Composition of Bactrian Camel’s Milk
The surplus Harmok is converted into CM Vodka and the residues are used to make Curt. Curt and Vodka are offered to the guests as a unique product of the Gobi.
The Attachment of Nomads with camel
The nomads love their camel very much. They call it Themeh in the Mongolian language. They use camels for milk, riding/racing, festivals, wool, and also for meat (in rare cases).
Practically, I have been working with the milking camels for the last 15 years almost, from research work to commercial camel dairying. I have a very strong and concrete experience that age and parity (number of calving/s) have a very negative impact on the camel udder. The advancement in age, total hours of milking (time of milking), and the number of parities resulting in the loosening of the ligaments of the udder, enlargement of the teats’ orifices, and elongating of the teats. All the above-mentioned conditions result in vulnerability to mastitis. I shall share some pictures, mostly shot of the udders of highly harvested/milked camels.
A Recent Study with Contrast Results from Iraq
I reviewed some studies about the camels’ mastitis recently (though not fresh studies) from Africa and now Iraq which revealed that the age, parity, and the number of milking has no impact on camels’ udder health. I will certainly not agree with such findings.
I noticed that in the studies publish with such results, the number of camels was less than 20 which is a very small sample. I’m sure if there will be a huge data with many camels and for many years, the results will be different.
Camel is one of the best animal models adapted to the harshest climatic conditions of the earth. Camel is engineered with super genes, evolved in tune with the climate change in the hundreds of years evolution history.
Seeing the tragic scenes on TV about the wildfires and the soaring heat in the regions not used to such challenges, the scientists are now thinking of adaptation strategies as the mitigation is complicated, expensive, and unsustainable.
As an animal scientist, working with the camels for the last 20 years, I’m very confident to say that one of the best adaptation strategies would be giving the camel a chance to perform as a food security animal. Though it is not easy and simple it is a reliable and sustainable model to ensure food security under the climate change challenge. Camel can be introduced in the forests (organic nutrients) which can consume the roughages which are otherwise causing hazardous fires. Camel and other animals especially goats can cut the link between the plants on the ground and the shoots of the trees, hence minimizing the risk of wildfires. https://camel4all.info/index.php/2020/09/15/grazing-livestock-can-eliminate-the-fire-hazards-in-the-forests/
Camel with the ability to produce milk and meat in a very low or zero input system can provide amazing food ingredients, especially milk which is attracting thousands of new consumers because of its health-friendly nature. Camel milk is not only good food but helps in health challenges, especially the challenges which are posed because of lifestyle like diabetes.
I have been writing on the camelization of the camels in the new habitats which are different and far away from their original habitats of Asia and Africa. The new habitats like Australia, part of the USA, and Europe are the new habitats and the people over there are witnessed the miraculous attributes of camels under the challenges of climate change. Also, many reports are circulating about the health admiring role of the camel milk as we can read on the very active group wall posts on Facebook with the name of ‘HEALING WITH THE CAMEL MILK’
European scientists are convinced with the attributes of the camel and the renowned camel scientist Dr. bernard Faye is leading a camel milk project with the name of CAMELMILK (PRIMA project n° 1832) to materialize camel milk availability at the European level. There are very promising results coming out of the project. I can see the beautiful pictures of the milking camels and the cheese-making out of the camel milk. https://camel-milk.org/about-us/summary/
In Europe, the camels are mainly housed in 3 countries, i.e. Germany, France, and Spain. Clearer information is only available for the Canary Island with at least 1,300 camels (the data is a bit controversial and maybe more than these figures). The average per camel milk yield (3 to 4 kg/day) is lower than in Africa, Arabia, and Central and South Asia. The prices of camel milk range from 8 to 10 Euro per kg camel milk. People are taking interest in camel milk and the consumers are increasing with a speedy incline curve. The main reasons for the camel milk likeness in Europe are;
People with allergies prefer camel milk as the camel milk is free of cow allergy proteins and intolerant lactose.
The health conscious people, especially the new generation
The people looking for the pharmacological affects of the camel milk and consider camel milk as natural pharmacy
The people who prioritize environment friendly production system
Challenges and the Way Forward
One of the most important challenges for the camel keepers in the new habitats is the lower yield of milk. The ancestors of those camels were imported into the regions for work. They are massive animals and comparatively low yielders in milk. In some regions, especially Europe they are somehow crossbred with the Bactrian camels which are very low yielder but producing thicker milk than the Arabian camels.
It will be a wise suggestion to make a camel dairy consortium at a global level with the support of the relevant countries’ governments to centralize the best camel genes for more and sustainable milk production. It is a bit tricky but not impossible. This will be a milestone in the journey of the camel dairying which will put longer impacts on the food systems and environments in the regions.
A series of camel stories from different regions of the world
The camel, most closely associated with desert climates, actually has unique connections to Europe. The Romans made the first introductions of Arabian (one hump) camels, likely for menageries, but archaeological evidence also supports their use as working animals in Belgium during the Roman period.
Some very old references are available about the camels in early medieval Europe. The Visigoths and other tribes may have brought them into Western Europe. In France, the Merovingian King Clotaire paraded his Queen Brunehaut on a camel before having her executed. The Arabs and Berbers in the early eighth century brought camels with them, but camel herding never really flourished in those regions. The Hohenstaufen king Redrick made use of camels in Sicily and southern Italy.
There were several attempts to introduce camels into Europe in the early modern period. Around 1623 a small herd of camels owned by King James used to graze daily in St James’s Park. Philip of Spain maintained a small zoo in the gardens of his palace at Aranjuez with 4 camels, which he had brought over in the 1570s from Africa. They proved useful in building work, so more were bred until there were about 40. Ferdinand de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, introduced imported camels in 1622 to be used a pack animals. The last of the herd lingered in the environs of Pisa until the second World War when soldiers killed the remnant for meat.
In 19th century Spain there were feral camels in the swamps of the Guadalquivir Delta. Allegedly they had been left there by the British army in the Peninsular War. Alternatively and less romantically, they had originally been imported into the province of Cadiz in 1829to work on road-building and other projects. There were other short-lived attempts to introduce camels in Spain, Poland, and elsewhere.
She was a well-known cameleer, camel queen, explorer, mountaineer, and adventurer, Mongolian dress designer, nature lover, and soulful camel friend. Baigalmaa Baikal Norjmaa, better known for her project Steppes To The West, traversing from Mongolia to the United Kingdom died in a tragic fire accident yesterday (15 May 2021).
Due to corona lockdowns, she wrote that she is feeling suffocated in the lockdown situation. She arranged a traditional Mongolian tent GER and shifted there to walk with the camels, feel free in the fresh air and explore the beauty of nature. She shifted there and the very first night the GER caught fire due to unknown reasons and got serious burn injuries and couldn’t survive.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her mother, husband, daughters, extended family, and friends. We had chatted online on numerous occasions and materialized zoom conferences regarding the camels as a lifeline for nomads.
I was just scrolling through her messages on WhatsApp and thinking of her aims, visions, motives, and kindness. We don’t know when life comes to an end. Love your family, make that visit to friends happen and send a prayer for Baigalmaa Baikal Norjmaa.
My friend from Turkey, Dr. Atakan Koc Koç (animal scientist) wrote some details to me explaining somehow the details of camel wrestling in Turkey.
He writes as; We also have a similar tradition for more than 200 years in Turkey. But we call it “Camel Wrestling”, not fighting. The procedure of wrestling is elaborated in the following bullets.
First of all, wrestling takes place under the supervision of the referee and assistants.
Secondly, before wrestling, camels have their mouths tied so that they do not hurt each other, so they are not allowed to suffer.
Thirdly, wrestling only takes 10 minutes. If one does not dominate the other, it ends in a draw. Most wrestling ends in draws anyway. If it is understood that one camel is superior to the other, wrestling is terminated.
Fourth, 30-40 thousand people come to watch wrestling in some places. They watch wrestling in a picnic setting. The whole family comes and joins the wrestling.
Wrestling is usually held on Sunday. At least 50-60 wrestling/games are played. Camels are matched according to their wrestling style. They can do a lot of different wrestling games.
The evening before the wrestling day, a dinner party called “Carpet Night” is organized, and the wrestling camel owners participate in this entertainment. A social event for wrestling camel owners.
They come and join wrestling 350-400 km far from the wrestling place. It is strictly forbidden to give any doping substance or performance enhancer to make their camels win.
There are camel wrestling associations where wrestling camel owners are members.
The camel wrestling association has organized a wrestling federation. The federation is responsible for the organization of camel wrestling, the assignment of referees and their assistants, as well as servants.
Camel wrestling is also a symbol of love for camels
Animal rights advocates do object, and rightly so in their own right. In fact, wrestling camels are very well cared for and fed. However, most camels will have to be slaughtered if camel wrestling is banned. Like a member of the family. There are even those who bury them in a suitable place when they die and some of them built graves. As a result, not camels are not allowed to fight, they are allowed to wrestle in Turkey.
Camel wrestling attracts thousands of local people and tourists each year in Turkey and provides a great opportunity of recreation to the people and a way of camel conservation in the country as I always quoted ‘Utilization is the best conservation’.
The CaM antibodies are several times smaller than those produced by other animals including humans. Recently discovered ‘nanobodies,’ can enter tissues and cells that other antibodies cannot. They can even interfere with enzyme binding sites, contributing to camels’ remarkable disease resistance. Their size and ability make them potentially valuable in biomedical research (diagnosis) on a broad range of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and atherosclerosis.
Lactoferrins, immunoglobulins and iron – binding glycoprotein
Studies have shown that camel milk works to combat and eradicate cancer cells (HepG2-MCF7) because camel milk contains high levels of lactoferrins, immunoglobulins, and iron-binding glycoprotein. These components act as antitumors and which happens through increasing RNA synthesis and the inhibition of protein kinases and differentiation.
Lactoperoxidase & Peptidoglycan in Camel Milk
The camel milk contains lactoperoxidase which possesses anti-tumor activity. Inclusion of peptidoglycan recognition protein in the milk was firstly found in camel milk which can fight breast cancer by taking over metastasis.
Camel Milk Nanobodies Pass Untouched to the Intestines
A tenth of the size of human antibodies thus acts as natural nanobodies, camel antibodies can grasp their targets just as human antibodies. The antibodies remain active when passing through the stomach. This is due to the fact that camel milk proteins do not precipitate in the stomach so they pass untouched into the intestines.
Camel milk saves you from the complex health challenges
The camel is strange, useful, precious, tolerant, strong and resilient We the human learn and absorb the above-said characteristics from the incredible camel. I think the camel is itself a chronological story, the long and diverse evolution period, from North America to the center of the earth, the Arabian peninsula.
I have my own philosophy of understanding and explaining the camel’s powers/salient features.
1. strong eyesight, 2. strong power of smell, 3. unique neck (a tool of body positioning during standing and sitting with the load), 4. strong hearing, 5. resistance to hunger and thirst, 6. tolerance (burning heat of desert and dependence on salty plants and water), 7 committed and consistent, and 8. intelligent (good in learning with stronger memory). While reading the book ‘camel crazy’, I realized that the author Christina Adams somehow followed the 7 powers of the camel in her journey.
I shall briefly explain, how she followed the theme of 8 powers in her book in the following lines briefly.
She tolerated the loneliness after the family break
She resisted the stress emerged managing and nourishing an autistic kid
She sighted and smelled the power of the camel milk from such a distance, from North America in the ME.
She was balancing her position between an autistic kid and the world of the camel, understanding, and exploring.
She recognized and heard the voice of the people who are connected with the camels. She showed the power to hear those very diverse and vast voices.
She tolerated the tiring journeys and resisted the negative waves of some schools of thought and kept her direction straight and clear.
She proved herself owing a very intelligent mind and memory, keeping and analyzing the information she gathered from very different parts of the world.
The author explored the potential of camel milk (CaM) in healing and managing autism, a great and unique idea. With patience, she used it for years and helped her son to be healed. She was convinced by the power of the camel, she traveled, met the camels and camel people. She visited camel cultures and absorbed their beauty and calmness. CC is a living story, the story of a traveler of a special cause. While seating at home, you will not only learn about the camels’ wonders but you will visit the camel’s habitats through the pages of the book.
CC does not only cover the above 8 philosophical powers but also provides proves of the travel journey with very beautiful photographs and the quality of the camel milk with the tables of composition.