Domestic Bactrian camel has been one of the most important animals for steppe nomads since it had domesticated in 2500BC. Camels are adapted to specific weather conditions of desert and semi-desert regions. Their wool, meat and milk are used for food consumption and have special nutritional value. Nomads have traditionally used camels as a means of transport for travelling long distances. There are two species of camels in the world: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, makes up 94% of all and the Bactrian camel has two humps, remained 6%. Although the population of dromedaries is increasing, the number of Bactrian camels is falling dramatically. Bactrian camel distribution is very limited, and they are only reared in Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Therefore, protecting Bactrian camel is not only the responsibility of Mongolia but also needs contribution from the world. In Mongolia, they were 549 thousand in 1985 but sadly they have been decreased to 200 thousand in 2007. And in last few years local nomads and communities arrange some good campaigns to raise and promote them so; the quantity has been increased up to 401 thousand in 2016.
For instance; they organize ‘Thousand Camel Festival’ or Camel Race and Camel Polo in past 20 years which recorded in World Guinness Book in 2016, and also local tour operators organize camel riding trips. Aim of this festival is to draw people’s attention to camels for protecting and breeding camels continuously in the future and the best management of increasing living values of camel.
Camel Festival is annually held in 6-7th March and the event will take place in Bulgan soum of South Gobi. It’s an entertaining 2-day of event that features various contests related to Mongolian camel culture and lots of local music and dances.
The main events are:
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