Thomas Crook from the Royal Veterinary College submitted this winning piece about his time with camels in the United Arab Emirates. Who knew beauty camels could come with such a high price tag!?
After a tiring day of collecting and transferring camel embryos in the middle of a desert research complex, in the 35 degree heat of Al Ain, we were about to leave for the evening.
On the way out of the complex, heading down a long tarmac road with desert and palm trees either side of us we got a call – an expensive camel was having a difficult birthing and the Bedouins were unable to assist her any further. After rushing across the sand dunes in the 4x4 we reached the camel camp just in time. The vet explained how uncommon this was in these hardy animals, and so this was serious. As we approached the vet did a quick exam and noted that the calf’s legs had become tangled and jammed within the dam. As we collected all the equipment from the car, the Bedouins managed to get the dam down onto her belly and we hooked up the calf to the chains. After countless painstaking minutes of twisting, pulling and sweating under the hot Arabian sun, the calf was out! After some anxious moments, the calf was lifting its head and breathing by itself – what a relief! With the feeling of elation and adrenaline coursing through my body, we washed ourselves off and began to leave the camp, only to be greeted by a miraculous reward – meeting Nadiya, the world’s highest rated competition beauty camel worth a whopping $15,000,000, as she was leaving for a walk. What a day.