The soum with the largest camel population in Mongolia held its 11th annual Camel Festival last Saturday. The festival in Khanbogd soum, Umnogovi began with a camel parade to the quiet melodies of the camel-head fiddle. Other events included camel races, competitions to select the best camels in a number of categories, a quiz about camels, and cultural performances. The celebrations were well attended and a big draw for local communities. During the festival a new triple-headed fiddle, featuring male, female and baby camels and a sculpture of the camel deity Gunjinlkham were officially unveiled.
Khanbogd Citizen’s Representative Council Chairman, Kh.Nekhiit announced that in future years, the Camel Festival will take place on 10th January each year. Speaking at the event, Soum Governor, T.Buyan-Ulzii said “Our soum has increased our herd by 1,433, to 22,655 camels. Bayan bagh has delivered 1,000 new-born camels for each of the last six years. We would like to express our gratitude to Oyu Tolgoi for sponsoring the Camel Festival for the last few years.”
Oyu Tolgoi Chief Operating Officer, Ivan Vella said “On this beautiful day we celebrated a very special event which pays tribute to the camels – the true masters of the Great Gobi desert. It is really impressive to see so many camels together. Oyu Tolgoi will continue to contribute to community development, including supporting further increases to local camel herds.”
Gaviluud bagh herder, Ch.Tsevegdelger, Bayan bagh herder, A.Batmunkh and herder S.Ivan from Nomgon bagh discussed the festival and agreed that this is a suitable way to celebrate thehard work of herders, raising these rare two-humped camels.”
The traditional festival will continue to play an important role in the development of winter tourism in Mongolia and the Gobi, contributing to the preservation of culture for future generations. It will also help to promote awareness of the unique Mongolian two-humped Bactrian camel around the world.
The Khanbogd community, which last summer celebrated the 90th anniversary of their soum, aims to develop the Galba Gobi red - a tall breed with high wool yields.
Umnugovi Citizen’s Representative Council Chairman, L.Batchuluun stressed the need to support those engaged in camel husbandry, and highlighted the importance of developing the Galba Gobi Red breed.
The community is also focused on establishing local brands of camel milk drinks, other dairy products, and camel wool products to help achieve sustainable increases in the camel herds.
As part of its Cultural heritage programme, run since 2010, Oyu Tolgoi is committed to helping increase the camel herd and supporting the development of the Galba Gobi camel wool brand.
About Oyu Tolgoi LLC (www.ot.mn)
Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Mongolia's largest copper and gold mining company, is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. Located in the South Gobi, Oyu Tolgoi commenced shipment of product to customers in July 2013. Oyu Tolgoi is managed by Rio Tinto, which is investing global expertise and cutting-edge technology to help develop Mongolia’s mining industry and ensure Oyu Tolgoi is one of the world’s most advanced mines. For Oyu Tolgoi, nothing matters more than safety. The business operates under the principle that if a job cannot be done safely, it will not be done at all.