Why camels have been bred in Russia?

Why camels have been bred in Russia?

Riding a camel in Siberia is rather weird and unusual, but breeding camels for export looks like a completely crazy idea. And all of this is done today in Russia.

Camel races in Siberia and the Urals and exporting camels – yes, Russians are the experts in it! For it they need vast fields, a wolf hunter and friends among border guards. Except for it breeding camels in Russia is easy. As farmers say, «There’s really nothing special about it.»

Low price business

Recently, two Moscow suburban residents were attacked by camels living in the yard of a private house. Another case when some women came face-to-face with the two camels in a local forest when they were hiking. No one was prepared for the encounter: the camels were on their honeymoon and were excited so one woman ended up getting bitten.
However such encounters are not common in Russia. Camels are usually bred on an industrial scale in just a few places. One place is in the Astrakhan region, not far from the Russian-Kazakhstan border. About 500 camels live side by side in the “Zarya” farm, a former Soviet kolkhoz.
In the USSR camels were considered as exotic animals and it wasn’t clear what to do with them. No one thought of selling them – there were state subsidies, and that was enough. But now everything is different.
«The frenzy began five years ago when the mayor of the town had decided to organize camel races. Suddenly, the «exotic» turned into an obsession. People came here from Finland, Switzerland and Norway. Recently, we sent five camels to buyers in Chelyabinsk in the Urals,» said Khalida Yusupova who has been chairwoman of «Zarya» since 1998 year.

«This is a low price business. If you have a small herd of camels, it costs less than to breed cows», adds Yusupova. Prices for camel milk range from 6.6 USD to 13.2 USD per a liter and at least 0.6 USD for a kilogram of wool, which farmers consider to be not that much.
«It’s difficult to breed them. Also, camels are not guinea pigs».
«They live for 20-30 years which means that the animal will be with you for a half of your life», remarks Sugunduk, «Zarya» employee who has been breeding camels for more than 30 years.

If a camel has a broken hump, he is butchered for food.

«We have many employees working in the farm. And we butcher one camel per week, » says Khalida.

In general, the main source of revenue is the sale of the herd: one head costs from 420 USD to 750 USD.

During summer it might rain just once in the Astrakhan region.

The camels also tolerate winter, but there are some other problems.

Problems connected with border guards

The camels move freely within a radius of 20-80 kilometres. In other countries helicopters are used for herding, but «Zarya» doesn’t have any.
They use horses as 30 years ago.
«There is a border with Khazakhstan not far from the farm, but the camels do not care and cross it», Khalida smiles. «I have always imagined the border as plowed land, as was shown on television. But it’s not like this. Once I didn’t even notice how I had crossed the border. I was detained for a day and fined. But my camel was returned.»
Now farmers use GLONAS (global navigational system) and they implant microchips into the animals. This is not cheap, but it is efficient.

However some things remain unchanged. Wolves are still a real threat for camels in Russia. So wolf hunters must work in the farms. The wolf is tracked in the morning as he leaves fresh footprints.

«Wolf hunting is a science and excruciating work,» said Khalida.


Source: https://hr.rbth.com/

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