Gold camels and dromedary beauty pageants at Saudi Arabian festival

The event brings together breeders and aficionados of the prized animals

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Saudi Arabia is holding its fifth King Abdulaziz Camel Festival as part of a national programme to promote the breeding and welfare of the animals on a global scale.

The 44-day festival is running until mid-January 2021 in Rumah, a city about 120 kilometres from the capital Riyadh.

It brings together camel lovers from all over the world for activities that include racing, beauty contests, auctions and training events.

As part of its drive to popularise camel farming, Saudi Arabia launched Saudi Camel Club in 2017, followed by the International Camel Organisation in March 2019.

More recently, ICO held a conference to promote camel breeding in Central Asian countries to help them achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“We will show them how they can make a lot of money from camels, how it can be a profitable business for them; we have many surprises to share with camel owners around the world,” Fahd bin Falah bin Hathleen, chairman of the ICO and SCC, told European exhibitors at the festival last year.

This year, the kingdom opened the world’s largest camel hospital at a cost of more than $36.5 million.

Saudi Arabia’s $36m camel hospital – in pictures