Nearly 2,000 camels have died in Saudi Arabia from a mystery illness that first appeared two weeks ago, according to government officials. Poisoning was a more likely cause than infectious disease.
“Veterinary experts say the symptoms indicate cases of poisoning and not an
infectious disease, and this accords with what camel owners have said about
animal feed they bought,” Agriculture Minister Fahd Bilghoneim told a news
The Agriculture Ministry has said tests suggested the deaths
were caused by animal feed which was contaminated by insecticide.
began dying in the Dawasir Valley south of Riyadh earlier this month. Bilghoneim
said 1,982 camels had since died.
Deaths have been recorded in the far
south of the vast desert kingdom, from Makkah to the border of
King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz promised
compensation for owners after the government said last week that 232 camels had
died in the space of four days in the Dawasir Valley.
Camels are traded
by Bedouin tribes for thousands of dollars each. The animals are used for racing
and are also eaten.