Camels and Camelids


Journal Edition: April 2020
Article DOI: 10.5958/2277-8934.2020.00001.6
Published On: 27-04-2020 18:14
R. Trevor Wilson
Bartridge Partners, Bartridge House, Umberleigh, EX37 9AS, UK


Somaliland is a self-proclaimed republic located in the Horn of Africa. The country has adopted the same borders as the former British Somaliland Protectorate but it has had difficulties in gaining international recognition. Its area of 68 000 square miles (176 120 square kilometres) is home to about 4 million people. Sheep and goats each number more than 8 million head, camels 1.7 million and cattle 0.40 million. Livestock are the basis of the livelihoods of the majority of the nation’s people. The camel has always been an icon in the culture and customs of the ethnic Somali. The British administration organised a Camel Corps to help in the maintenance of law and order in the then Protectorate but it also distinguished itself against the troops of Italian Somaliland in the World Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 before it was disbanded in 1946. As well as being important in the cultural fabric of the inhabitants of Somaliland, the camel is the major source of milk in the country, provides meat, performs transport operations and contributes its hides to the economy. Livestock in general are the major source of foreign exchange earnings to which camels contribute a considerable proportion. Feed is generally a problem and some has to be imported from Ethiopia. The presence of many diseases is a major constraint to the higher output which would be of great benefit to the welfare of the nation and of individual households and family units.

Key words: Animal diseases, camel, livestock trade, mad mullah, medicine, milk production, Somaliland ethnoveterinary