The story about the camel future – Animal of future
In continuation of the series of camel stories from different regions of the world
Camel Beyond Their Cradle of Domestication
From their places of domestication 5000 years ago, dromedary and Bactrian camels moved far away from their cradle (origin of domestication). Two main parameters can explain this camel stock moving: The aridification of the Sahara starting just before the Christian Era. The trade routes in Asia from China to the Mediterranean coast (Silk Road) and across Sahara from the Maghreb to the Sahel, using camels’ caravans.
FAO Statistics and the Camels
The world statistics (site FAOstat) available since 1961 only, show a regular increase of the camel population (approximatively 3%/year), but with different demography patterns.
Global Demographic Trends in Camels
Globally, we can distinguish a Trend as
Countries with a decline of the camel population, but except in India, this decline was stopped since the years 2000’s for example in China, Turkey, and Middle-east (5 % of the total camel population) (5 % of the total camel population)
Countries with a regular growth of their population (North and Horn of Africa, Pakistan, and Central Asia) (50 % of the total camel population)
Countries with important increase after slight decline which concern Syria and Bahrein only (1.5 % of the total camel population)
Countries with sudden increase after a long regular growth (Sahel countries and Arabian Peninsula) ( 43.5 % of the total camel population)
New implantations are also observable
After importing some camels in Australia in the XIXth century, a large camel population is nowadays present in this country. Camels were also imported in arid countries of Southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana). But a recent keen interest can be observed in Western countries (USE, Europe), mainly for touristic attraction, but more and more for milk production.
Globally, it is expected that climatic changes are giving a chance for camels to take more place in the future world.
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.
Camel is one of the most important livestock for food security under climatic calamities. It is a sustainable livestock with lowest ecological footprints and produce one of the unique food, the camel milk. Camel milk is considered as the natural pharmacy.
Unfortunately, the camel is very little praised and appreciated for its role as a food security livestock. Camel is always neglected at all levels by the policymakers and very little attention is given in the R&D projects on a country, region, and global levels. The good thing is that the camel is again turning to its original task, the camel milk. New camel dairies are emerging both in the ancient habitats and new habitats of the camel. This return is mainly materialized by the author’s and his colleagues’ efforts, bringing camel at all levels and making the research findings understandable and practicable.
Camel ensure livelihood of its keepers in difficult environments
One of the most important milestones in such achievements is the world camel day 22 June.
Why we chose the date of 22nd June?
In its original habitat, 21 June is the longest and hottest day of the year, in the northern hemisphere of the globe. Camel sustains its abilities of production in such harsh and hostile environments and adapts to the soaring heat and long thirsty day. We should have chosen the 21st of June as world camel day but it is specified for the world father day. So, we decided to skip 21 and selected 22nd June as the world camel day. The difference in day length is only 2 seconds between the 21st and 22nd June. For further reading about the history of the world camel day, please go to the link below. https://camel4all.blog/2020/06/20/history-of-world-camel-day-22-june/amp/
Camel is very different from other livestock, owing very special physiological and anatomical features making it one of the most resilient creatures of the challenging climatic conditions. Camels adapt and resolve with some multidimensional features to cope with the situations where the temperatures are red hot, water and feed sources are scarce, and the conditions of life are harsh.
Insurance of Life Sustenance in Challenging Conditions
The very important feature of the camel is its potential of producing milk (for calf) to sustain its life cycle and reproduce offspring for the continuation of the camel race. The long, harsh, and challenging days of the desert do not dent the camel milk yield but slightly increase with more watery milk to fulfill the water requirements of the calves in the arid and hot conditions.
Camel is Admired from Religion to Tradition and Believes to Science
The features of the camels are well praised in the holy books, travelers’ stories, documentaries of national geographic, research articles, and the folk songs and stories of the nomads. According to a study, the camel needs 1.9 kg dry roughages to produce 1 kg of milk in the arid condition, and in the same conditions, a native cow needs 9.1 kg dry matter for the same quantity of milk.
Camel Needs Lesser Inputs to Produce
Based on my personal experience, the dairy camel needs far less water than the dairy cows in the same conditions. The drinking water requirements of dairy cows are 8-10 times more per liter milk products in extremely hot weather (>45C). The dairy cows not only require water for food but for cooling and the cooling system needs a lot of power to regulate it’s cooling and exhaust fans. Also, the camel requires a lesser quantity of crude protein in the feed as it is unique in urea recycling. A diet of 16% CP is more than enough for a camel to fulfill its basics and production requirements.
Longer and Productive Farm Life
The camel has tremendous potential as farm livestock because of its longer product life cycle (up to 10-12 parties). The high yielding dairy cow only manages 4 lactations on the farm because of high yielding, overloaded health inputs, the extra burden of feed ingredients (higher CP), and stressful conditions because of multiple factors. In the same conditions, camels take lesser water, feed (lesser CP), and absorb the higher temperatures in their hump and live a very stress-free lifestyle.
The stress-free lifestyle of camel fabricates unique milk, full of nutrients and positivity which ultimately supports our health and happiness.
Shorter Register of Diseases
Also, the camel has a very specific and limited number of diseases, except few like Mange (skin disease) and trypanosomiases (blood parasites), other diseases do not need much human intervention. The hard and strong udder ensures it potential to be less prone to mastitis and other glandular diseases if properly milked in hygienic conditions. Such a phenomenon makes the camel the best dairy choice as it needs lesser health and comforts inputs and milk production in stress-free conditions.
The Camel Sustains in Conditions where others can hardly survive
Even if kept in the same ecological zone with comfortable environmental conditions (preferred for cows), the camel is more efficient in water and feeds turnover into milk. In ideal conditions camels need 4 liters of water for one kg milk (with an average production yield of 10 kg/per day), while in the same condition dairy cows need 4 times more water for one kg milk yield.
Camel is fantastic livestock, designed with special DNAs to support human life in driest parts of the world. The policymakers at all levels should realize the importance of this unique creature and should give a chance to the incredible camel to perform as a food security animal in the climate change context. The WORLD CAMEL DAY is therefore celebrated each year on 22nd June to aware the people about the incredible role the camel is playing and the hopes we foresight from the camel in the challenging future. First WORLD CAMEL DAY was celebrated on the 22nd of June, 2008.
World Camel Day and Camel4Life International
The camel is rarely admired for its incredible roles and it is still hiding from the eyes of the policymakers. Me with the like-minded people, launched WORLD CAMEL DAY to advocate camels and aware the masses about the importance of the camel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDPMUKbIthU