Its owner collected the cheque and explained how it had taken him “years” to prepare his camel.
A “botox-free” camel has been awarded one million riyal cash prize as it was announced the winner in Qatar’s first Camel Festival.
The crowned camel, named Mangiah Ghufran, strutted among other camels from across the region, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as Qatar has broadened its camel festivals from a more local one to a regional one, according to reports.
The organisers were extra meticulous upon hosting the camel contestants as the recent camel festival in Saudi Arabia sparked outrage over Botox charges, an event where 43 camels were disqualified after it was found they had undergone cosmetic enhancements.
The King Abdulaziz Camel Festival lured breeders in from around the Gulf as the prize money stood at $66 million, reports said.
According to officials, practice of cosmetic enhancements on camels is considered “animal abuse” and “violators face hefty fines and are banned from participating in future competitions.”
The malpractice of beauty enhancements in camel pageants have bloomed amid tough competition, despite the heavy penalties imposed. The injections are given in an attempt to “make their lips droopier and their humps more shapely,” the report noted.
“Work was done to combat tampering, which is the use of Botox and fillers and other things,” said Hamad Jaber Al-Athba, the Chief Festival Organiser.
In order to avoid a potential cheating scandal, organisers place the camels through X-rays and other sources of monitoring. “We had a professional veterinary staff and advanced equipment and we worked to combat tampering and limit the spread of cosmetic materials,” he added.
“Corruption was fought seriously at the Qatar Camel Festival,” Al-Athba reiterated.
To choose the winners, the judges look at “the size and beauty” of the animal’s head, the length of its neck and the position of the camel’s hump, as these features are considered the most important points,” he noted.
As for black camels, the size of its head can be a “deal-breaker,” however the white camels, consistency of their colour is taken into account.
The relevant authorities in the Gulf country and its neighbours are seeking to shed a spotlight on traditional practices as they compete with major events, including the country’s World Cup and Formula One Grands Prix.
Al-Athba said that the festival had been a success, which is a testament to Qatar’s “growing urban population as well as its desert-dwelling Bedouin.”