The Camel Milk Story from the Gobi Desert Mongolia

The story is hereby released at the eve of the World Camel Day 2018.

The author was invited by the newly established Mongolian Camel Milk Company. The group owns their camels in the desert as their half families live there with the precious livestock in the amazing Gobi.

img_51551-e1529573776340.jpgI started traveling from Dubai airport (2 am, 20th April) and reached Ulaanbaatar on the 21st morning 7 am (Cengiz Khaan International Airport) via Moscow by Aeroflot. The 12 hours stay in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport was an excellent experience of life as I slept in a small cabin available on rent, the first time in my life.

A Bank advertisement with camel, the first thing I saw on arrival
Bactrian camel Monument at the Cengiz Khaan International AirportUB Mongolia

Sanaa and Enkhie (the trip organizers) received me at the airport and took me to the hotel (Khuvsgul Lake). Today, the program was composed of some meetings in the UB city with camel scientists/researcher, businessmen and visiting Changiz Khan Museum.

Me with Enkhie in Chansiz Khan Museum
With Enkhie, the friend and organizer

Travel to South Gobi Desert

Next day, we traveled for more than 10 hours by road and reached South Gobi region. We traveled another 1:30 hour to reach the nomad Ger (house). The nomad family warmly welcomed us and we stayed overnight there. I slept in the Ger first time.Nomad house decorated with many camel medals

Gobi is a vast land with rich floral biodiversityThis time period of the year, the nomads do not milk the camels but to let the calf take it and get stronger. The Bactrian camels have beautiful small teats with a strongly attached compact udder.Bactrian camel is very good riding animal

Seeing Camels and Interviewing the Herder

Next day, I woke up in the morning and went to the camels. They are still roaming near the Ger with their calves. The calves are tied. I observed the calves and the dams and found them very healthy and stronger.

Types of camel

There are 3 types of Bactrian camels in the region, i.e.

  1. Galba Gobiin Ulaan (Reddish colored camel)
  2. Khaniin Khestiin Khuren (Brown colored camel)
  3. Thukhum MTungologiin kKhos Zogdott Khuren (double line neck hair)
Beautiful Bactrian Calf

Breeding Season

The breeding season starts in October and reached the peak in December and slowly decline and cease in April. Usually, one Bull is enough for up to 70 she-camels. The details of the production traits are given in the table below.

Table: The Production Traits of the Bactrian camel in the region

MonthsConception Rate (%)Calving %ageAvg. Milk (kg)

The table clearly indicates the breeding season, calving percentage, and the milk production. The Camel Milk is lower in quantity, producing from 1-3 liter/day but the milk is thick and full of energy to give special strength to the calf to survive in challenging environment. The average milk production based on my survey is 640 ml/day with lactation yield 233 kg. The lactation here calculated on the annual basis but in actual, the camel produces for up to 8 months.

Camel Milk Products

The nomads use camel milk as fresh directly. The surplus is converted into fermented product (Harmok). The Harmok is used very widely and some products are available in the market in Ulaanbaatar. For further details about Bactrian milk, you can go to the link Detailed Nutritional Composition of Bactrian Camel’s Milk


The surplus Harmok is converted into CM Vodka and the residues are used to make Curt. The curt and Vodka is offered to the guests as a unique product of the Gobi.

The Attachment of Nomads with camel

The nomads love their camel very much. They call it Temeh in the Mongolian language. They use camel for milk, riding/racing, festivals, wool, and also for meat (in rare cases).

17 thoughts on “The Camel Milk Story from the Gobi Desert Mongolia”

  1. Pingback: World Camel Day (June 22) – Animal Genetic Resources, the Camel, Food Security and the Climate Change

  2. Prof Dr Muhammad YOUNAS, Ex-President CAP, Pakistan

    Dear Dr Abdul Raziq Khan
    AA: Good to read and know the new Experience of Gobi Desert at Mongolia. I wish our CAP cabinet have done any event at this occasion (World Camel Day June 22, 2018) but looks they are busy in other matters. Hope they will wake up soon.
    Dr Muhammad Younas
    Ex-President CAP

  3. it is great to hear some more information from you especially about camel.Being a resident of the cold montainous areas before i was not interesting in camel but you work and interesting new information increasing my interest in camel day by day.Thank you very much for sharing your observation.

    1. Pauline Gitonga

      Dear Dr Abdul Raziq Khan
      It is always a pleasure reading your pieces. I like the integration of science and culture.

  4. I am fascinated with the Gobi Desert, the Bactrians and the people of the Gobi are truely amazing, i hope to visit them one day. Thanks for your story.

    1. Thanks very much Linda for your interest. This year we are celebrating world camel day on 22 June as the camel milk year. I wish if you support use with suggestion and brainstorming ideas.

  5. Pingback: The Camel Milk Story from the Gobi Desert Mongolia – Traditional Animal Genetic Resources for Food Security Under Climate Change Influence

  6. Pingback: Mongolian Bactrian camel -Breeding, Milk Production, and Lactation Curve – Camel4ALL

  7. Pingback: Breaking News, A Successful Making of Bactrian Camel Milk (BCaM) Cheese in Mongolia - ARKBIODIV.COM

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