Jordan Camel Racing: Owner Contact with Animal via Radio and Robot

Mon Jul 18, 2016 18:26:13

At break-neck speeds, they race a five kilometer (3.1 mile) course at Wadi Rum. Their owners follow closely behind, urging their camels on via radios attached to the animals' humps.

This is a seasonal tournament with local teams gathering to compete for cash prizes of up to 2,000 US dollars.

As well as the prestige, a win here could mean the animals can be sold to camel racers in the Persian Gulf, a potentially lucrative earner.

And owners have more than one chance for victory - a total of ten tournaments are held here.

Trainers in Wadi Rum say the harsh desert and the local methods of training make for internationally-recognised races.

But the sport itself has adapted to the technological 21st century. Owners use a remote control which operates a saddled robot that whips the camels into higher speeds.

The recent invention replaces child jockeys, a practice that had attracted huge controversy and is now banned in some countries such as the UAE.

And despite the new modern twist to the sport, these races still attract a crowd, keen to watch the camels race as the sun sets over the majestic landscape of Wadi Rum.