Mongolia: Cameleering 101

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October 18th 2017
Published: October 20th 2017
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Wear Waterproof ClothingWear Waterproof ClothingWear Waterproof Clothing

Shamrock showered me in his frothiness on the first day of training. I was literally covered and smelled quite aromatic. Photo credit: Julie Baker
We set out on a mission. We were going to prepare a string a camels for an outrageous expedition. We signed up because we love the camels and we love the concept. We assumed we would be building trust, teaching commands and perfecting practices. We knew there would be great progress followed by a few setbacks followed by more progress. We knew nothing would go as initially planned.

Some of us had livestock experience. Some of us had camel experience. Some of us had passion. And there were a few who had all three. We were in Mongolia to train camels. We knew that part of the trip. We knew our role.

What we did not know was who these people were who were going to take OUR camels from Mongolia to England. We had no idea if they knew large animal handling, if they knew camel handling or if they even liked camels.

What we learned about the Steppes to the West expedition team was that they had drive, none of the other stuff. But it was clear they were determined to step in and figure out what is best for these animals.

Cuddles are Mandatory Cuddles are Mandatory Cuddles are Mandatory

Photo credit: Gillian Barber

What became crystal clear was there was going to be a lot of people training along with camel training.

In addition to learning how to build trust with camels, how to ask camels to perform tasks and how to safely move a string of camels, the team had to learn how to care for these animals in the daily sense and in the long-term sense. There were discussions about feed, roughage, hay and nutrition. There was planning for the what-ifs including injury, predators, fear or illness. There were acts of prevention in terms of vaccinations and exercise. There were lessons on safety, animal behavior and facing the elements.

Bottom line, there was a lot to learn and it all had to be achieved in a very short amount of time.

The expedition team did a great job of observing, asking for help, jumping right in and persisting. There were times the camel training team was asked not to help the expedition team so they could practice not having our help. It was like removing the training wheels and not holding onto the seat. It was not easy for us camel lovers to
Be Open to LearningBe Open to LearningBe Open to Learning

We had a seminar on knot tying and I am pretty sure these Mongolian teachers thought was a flunky. Photo credit: Kaila Frazer
do, but the expedition team proved themselves to us and the camels over and over again.

I took lots of notes during our discussions and classes, but instead of regurgitating it all here I thought it would be fun to create a Cameleering 101 cheat sheet using photos.

Enjoy these guiding principals of camel care:

Additional photos below
Photos: 36, Displayed: 23


Be FlexibleBe Flexible
Be Flexible

Apparently there were not enough poles for practicing knots, so my calf had to be available. Photo credit: Kaila Frazer
Sometimes Creativity is RequiredSometimes Creativity is Required
Sometimes Creativity is Required

Planning session to design the "spiders" for the Bactrian camels so they could be strung together and gear could be secured.
Hand Feeding Warms HeartsHand Feeding Warms Hearts
Hand Feeding Warms Hearts

Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Buy the Best RopeBuy the Best Rope
Buy the Best Rope

These camels require camel hair rope because it is the only product that won't freeze to their skin in the harsh winters.
Win the HeadWin the Head
Win the Head

Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Work as a TeamWork as a Team
Work as a Team

Photo credit: Julie Baker
Halters Must be MadeHalters Must be Made
Halters Must be Made

Photo credit: Gillian Barber

20th October 2017

I'm worried about the camels back home--the one humped variety. Have you clothes well laundered and don't breathe a word to them about consorting with the Bactrians. There might be a sense of betrayal, if not consorting with the enemy. I'm learning. Great photos. Great 101 course!

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