Kazakhstan Floods: Rescuers Lend Helping Hand to Camels

Image: aqtobe_tjd

Camels, the old saying goes, are ships of the desert. Not so during the recent flooding in western Kazakhstan.

Sitting on their haunches, a group of Bactrian camels was ferried to safety in small rubber dinghies by rescue teams in the Aktobe region, which has been hard hit by floods that forced mass evacuations of residents, damaged buildings and submerged roads.

Video from the regional emergency department showed the unusual scene this week of rescuers sloshing through water that reached their waists as they escorted dinghies carrying one bedraggled camel each.

The domesticated camels were strapped into the vessels and appeared to have been injected with tranquilizers to keep them calm during the trip to dry land.

The Instagram post by emergency responders got positive reviews.

“Thank you for helping animals,” one person wrote in the comments section. Another said: “Well done, guys.”

Bactrian camels, which live in parts of Central Asia and East Asia, have two humps and are able to withstand brutal temperature extremes in summer and winter. Over millennia, people used them for transportation and trade and they are a source of meat, milk and wool.

In the wild, Bactrian camels are considered to be critically endangered. Last year, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization concluded a two-year conservation project for the Bactrian camel in Iran.