Those pouting lips might have seemed too good to be true, as was the shapely hump and long slender neck.
As it turns out, the winner of Qatar’s first camel beauty contest was entirely the work of nature and nothing to do with Botox or cosmetic surgery.
Mangiah Ghufran was declared the most beautiful beast at the festival, in Al Shahaniya, this week, after first satisfying the judges that his appearance had not been artificially enhanced.
Qatar Camel Festival judges were exercising extra caution after fears of what they called widespread “tampering” in the world of camel beauty competitions.
Last December, at a contest in Saudi Arabia, 43 camels were disqualified after it was discovered that unauthorised enhancers had been applied to the animals. These included Botox and other drugs designed to make their lips droopier and humps more shapely.
While the drugs can have the temporary effect of improving the camels’ appearance, they have serious long-term issues for their health.
Mangiah Ghufran was subject to intense scrutiny, including X-rays, before being anointed as the winner of the contest, which has a prize of one million riyals ($274,600).
Chief festival organiser, Hamad Jaber Al Athba, said: “Corruption was fought seriously at the Qatar Camel Festival.
“We had professional veterinary staff and advanced equipment and we worked to combat tampering and limit the spread of cosmetic materials.”
Mangiah Ghufran’s owner, Fahed Faj Algufrani, explained it had taken “years” to prepare his prize-winning camel.
Judges looked the appearance of the head, the length of the neck and the position of the camel’s hump in selecting the winner.
This was Qatar’s first international camel festival, attracting breeder from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, with prize money worth a total of 47m riyal.
Camel festivals have long been part of the UAE’s cultural scene, with the biggest being the Al Dhafra Festival in Abu Dhabi, which this year offered prizes totalling Dh110 ($29.9m).