Thursday, September 26, 2013

Caution: Camel Crossing

I have been working in different parts of Middle East for quite some time thus; I've been exposed to its desert wildlife which I don't normally see in the Philippines.

One of the most common desert animals in the Middle East is the camel; it can survive for days without drinking any single drop of water. Hence, I've been wondering how these creatures survive on this desolate place.

For more than 6 years in Yemen I've seen herd of camels coming to our work site from time to time. They would arrive and stay for at least a day and disappear without any traces at all. Whenever they are here in our camp, the expats have grand time for some photo-ops.

During my early days in my present company, I noticed that there were drums of water strategically located outside our camp. This puzzled me; I am sure they are not intended for extinguishing fire since we have big fire trucks in our camp. It never occurred to me that these water containers were there for the thirsty camels.

To satisfy my curiosity I ask my local staff about these wild camels and how they live considering that there is limited vegetation in our area. He corrected me and stated that these camels were not wild. The Bedouin tribes own these camels and they have put their marks on these animals hence other people won't dare touch or steal them. More so, the camels know which places have vegetation and they visit these places from time to time.

He added that camels have great memories. In fact they have been used to transport goods for more than a thousand of years and they know well the path to follow even in the middle of the desert. This is the reason why we see them regularly in our work site because they are aware that water here is plentiful due to water containers outside. They drink a lot of water and store it inside their belly then travel for days in search of foods. Their owners won't be bothered since they know the place very well and can easily track their camels at any given time.

Though a camel looks adorable it can be a hazard to any motorist especially when it crosses the road. I remember when I was in Abu Dhabi, UAE many years back, my colleagues informed me that several accidents occurred along the highway going to our accommodation in the middle of the desert due to presence of camels on the road; sometimes these accidents have caused death to both motorists and camels. Accidents can occur since on desert roads where traffic regulations are normally not being followed, you can drive up to your car's maximum speed limit. One time I rode a Land Cruiser and it reached 190 kph; I was both excited and afraid.

Camel Crossing Sign

As precautionary measure, our company has installed some "Camel Caution Sign" along our main road where herd of camels normally cross to prevent accident. You might think that camel walks slowly thus there is no need for this sign. Actually, a camel can burst into speed if they want to; I saw them run fast during camel race. Moreover. a camel's body has the same color with the surrounding area thus it is difficult for untrained eyes to notice a camel from afar.

It is worthy to note that people nowadays are adapting to protect and prevent disrupting the normal lives of these wonderful desert animals.  

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