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Working Life: Baby Camel
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submitted by Luke Powell on 31.01.2006
Copyright (2006) Luke Powell

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Near Nebi Musa, Palestine, 1980, 35 mm Nikon F2, Nikkor lens, ©Luke Powell, 1997.

"One morning near Nebi Musa I was shooting near a deep escarpment when a large camel began pestering me. This behavior was unusual, for despite their reputations, I have rarely found camels to be aggressive toward me. This one became so persistent that I went over the edge and clung to the steep slope for a few minutes until she went away. Camels have a difficult time with very steep places.

"Later that morning I was in the same general area when I heard a sheep bleating somewhere far below. Sheep are like Japanese tourists; they almost never occur alone but travel in flocks. Then I spotted it and had a look with my longest lens. On closer inspection it was not a sheep but a baby camel. Then I began to understand the behavior of the adult camel earlier in the morning. I climbed down the cliff and found that this one was new-born with its umbilical cord still bloody. It was a bit bruised, but it was very much alive, and nothing seemed broken.

"I set off across the hills looking for its likely owner, but I tired after a time and lay down and took a nap. I had been up since long before the sun in order to walk out to this area in time for the beautiful early light. When I awoke there were sheep all about and one puzzled shepherd stood over me. I jumped up and explained as best I could about the baby camel, and the shepherd began calling with amazing volume for someone else whom he said was the concerned owner. After fifteen or twenty minutes the owner of the camel appeared, pleased to find out what had become of the baby camel. He had noticed that the mother was no longer huge, but he had searched in vain for a body, and she had no baby with her.

"When my new friend and I reached the precipice from which the baby camel could be seen, it became obvious that my eyes were better than those of this shepherd, and he had to take my word that the camel was in fact way down there. He practically ran down the slope, and soon we had the creature on its feet. I insisted on a picture, though I only had time for one quick one."
Luke Powell

You can see more of Luke Powells magnificent photos at this site:
http://avalon.unomaha.edu/afghan/index.htm

Many thanks to him for his permission to post his pictures on our site.

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