Twenty-five of the UAE's finest racing camel prospects were sold for a total of Dh1.2 million at a major auction held at Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.
Camel owners flocked to the capital from all over the Emirates and the wider region to place their bids for the cream of the camel competition on Thursday evening.
Auctions of young male and female camels – as well as top falcon breeds – are among the highlights of the annual Adihex event, which celebrates Emirati heritage and pays tribute to its sporting roots.
The top camel fetched Dh120,000, a fee the new owner will be aiming to earn back with interest through plenty of wins on the track during the camel racing season.
The sale price could be viewed as a bargain, according to one expert.
Fahad Al Mamari, from the Advanced Scientific Group Veterinary Research Centre, which organises the auction in partnership with Adihex, said racing camels have previously been sold for millions of dirhams at leading auctions.
"In the past, camels used to be sold for high prices - Dh5m, Dh10m" he said.
"But nowadays, for the past two or three years, it's Dh2m or Dh3m at most."
Camel racing is a sport steeped in Arabic culture, with meetings held throughout the year drawing enthusiastic crowds across the Emirates.
The animals are treasured for their appearance as well as their speed and durability.
Beauty pageants held across the Middle East are a lucrative business.
In November, Qatar staged a camel festival with an international flavour to rival the football World Cup taking place at the time.
Camels from across the Arabian Gulf took part in the Qatar Camel Mzayen Club’s beauty festival in Ash-Shahaniyah.
The competition between camels is fierce with categories set according to age and type.