Saudi Arabia’s Al Qassim region has opened the world’s largest camel hospital and research facility.
The Salam Veterinary Camel Hospital, which stretches over 70,000 square metres and cost over 100 million Saudi Riyals to build, was opened by Dr Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud bin Abdulaziz, governor of the region, on Sunday evening.
The check-up facilities can handle 144 camels alone and the research centre is working on mitigating disease and other risks to the animals. The stable sheds are capable of holding up to 400 racing camels at one time.
A spokesperson for the facility said it will employ between 200 and 300 people across six sections, surgery, medical treatment, camel accommodation, laboratories for testing and research and a calf unit.
After cutting tape to open the new facility, the governor toured the hospital's central laboratories and other facilities before giving a speech to mark the occasion.
The new facility is located close to Buraydah, the site of what is considered to be the world’s largest camel market, which runs six days a week across two square miles.
The CEO of Salam Veterinary Group, Rashid bin Assaf Al Ajmi thanked Dr Faisal for his support of the project and the people of the region.
"The hospital contains a number of different departments, research on camels, operations, x-ray, births, viruses and certain types of illnesses. They also have laboratories that specialise in different blood types and nutrition for camels," Mr Al Ajmi told Al Ekhbaryia news service.
"This is the first in hospital in the world to have these departments and special machinery that would treat the camels."
The hospital's central laboratory contains over 60 pieces of equipment capable of undertaking over 160 types of analyses.
Part of the aims of the huge hospital are to promote and improve breeding, including a specialist centre for embryonic transfer using world-first technology for camels. The practice has been performed for the first time in Saudi Arabia by the organisation.
This season the group conducted over 500 embryo transfers, resulting in 350 pregnant camels. Next season they hope to transfer 2500 embryos, overseen by veterinarian Taher Kamal.