Camels always denote endurance of people in the desert and in various hot regions of the northern hemisphere. They represent elements of agriculture and civilization. Camels are ideal domestic animals in deserts as they withstand extreme harsh climatic conditions of up to eight or more months of dry spell or unreliable rainfall of between 50 and 550mm. Though they belong to the category of food producing domesticated animals, there is little research on camels. This is because camels are mainly found in dry, arid and semi-arid parts of Asia and Africa, which are characterized by poor animal husbandry and nutrition (Sohail 39).
Another challenge in dry areas is inadequate pasture. Unlike ruminants, camels feed on a range of things like herbaceous plants, date stones, shoots, cacti and shrubs. During dry seasons, camels feed on thorny withered plants, which have low protein but high cellulose and fiber. A camel has the ability to convert desert plants into milk, meat and fiber. It has a lasting memory, sleeps in short intervals and has no rivals for feed (Khan et al.64). Its physiological adaptations help it to survive in the desert. Because of its stamina, strength and docility, people use a camel for transport, riding, and agricultural operations (Khan et al. 65).
A camel is able to perform most of these tasks because of its adaptation to harsh conditions. They will always blossom where other domestic animals cannot survive. This gives it physiological and anatomical distinctiveness. In the presence of green forage in harsh conditions, a camel can go for months without drinking water. In hot seasons, it can drink after eight or ten days and drop only 30% of its body weight because of dehydration.
In places where it is crucial, a camel serves a range of purposes. As a beast of burden, a camel transports people and goods and produces milk. Some people refer to it as the sheep of the desert because of its ability to go without forage and water. It can carry a load of up to 500 pounds on its back. A camel is the best option when crossing desert dunes since the terrain does not allow vehicles. This would take several days of trekking. While on the back, you can take a few hours to get to the other side of the dune. Averagely, a camel can travel 25 miles in a day. They played a significant role in wartimes as they could go for days without food.
Owners find its milk to be their regular food. A camel’s milk is rich in Vitamin B, C and iron. In Saudi Arabia, Camel milk is used to produce cheese and yoghurt. The milk is also known to have disease-fighting organisms, which prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and HIV/AIDs. Its wool, meat and leather have host of uses. Though its meat is tough and rough, it’s thought to be better than beef. It has low fat content, with low risk of causing heart related complications to consumers like other red meat. Among other reasons, people treasure camels because they offer social status to owners. Besides being hardy, its products like milk, meat, hides, skins, wool and bones have a range of uses (Ahmad et al. 196).
Aside from transport, clothing and food, camels are also used for sporting. In the Middle East, camel racing has become a common sport. It has a rich history in the Arab World dating back to 700 AD. As a sport, camel racing also attracts tourists to this region. Camels, which are used for sports are bred using Artificial Insemination trough crossbreeding. Racing camels are trained and fed specifically for the sport. During competitions, participants register their animals in different categories depending on their ages. The law only permits camels older than 2 years to take part in racing. Through racing, breeders select the best breeds and eliminate mature ones. Camel polo is a common sport in the Middle East. Conde Nast Traveller states that tourists at Desert Palm and Per Aquum in Dubai enjoy the game as part of new experience (Davey par. 1).
Even though they have a range of benefits, dromedary camels have a bad temper and can bite or spit on people to demonstrate their anger. They spit part of the stomach content especially when they feel threatened. They are untrustworthy, rigid and stubborn. They are also ugly and frightening to children. Its moaning and groaning noises also irritate people.
Camels have a range of negative economic effects. For example, they need direct management, they destroy infrastructure, and harm people through collisions. They also have ecological effects like destruction of flora through their eating habits. They destroy swamps through trampling, fouling and sedimentation. They are also hostile to other animals as they compete for shelter and shelter. They also affect the social values of people. For instance, they destroy historical sites, plant tucker resources, lower people’s pride in natural places, are a hazard when driving, and irritate people in the neighborhood. They are also known to spread diseases like the Rift Valley Fever, Rinderpest, bluetongue bovine tuberculosis, and surra (Sharp and Saunders 4).
In summary, researchers have overlooked the potential of dromedary camels due to diverse source of food and family earning. Today, there are other sources of food, milk and transport means, which have replaced the role of camels. However, in arid and semi-arid areas, camels play a major role in producing milk and meat. Nonetheless, they also have a host of negative effects. Their destructive impact is cultural, social and economical.