The camel-themed new passport in an image posted by the Saudi Camel Club. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Images of camels have graced a new Saudi passport in a celebration of the animal closely associated to the kingdom’s heritage and at the centre of a thriving industry.

The Saudi Camel Club has posted on its Twitter account images from inside the passport showing a flock of camels splashed across two opposite pages. “Our passport is our identity. It is bedecked with the picture of our legacy. We are proud that our new passport embodies a symbol of our culture and civilization,” the club said.

Last February, Saudi authorities unveiled a newly designed passport with features boosting its security and protection against forgery.

In recent years, the camel business has remarkably grown in Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom annually hosts the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival, the world’s such biggest pageant.

There are around 1.8 million camels with a market value of over SR50 billion in Saudi Arabia, according to official figures.

Purpose-made portal

In March, camel owners in the kingdom started applying for documenting strains of their animals as part of a unique project using DNA tests to preserve rare species of camels.

Registration, conducted on a purpose-made portal, entails different data on camels including the DNA.

The Saudi Camel Club, which oversees the project, said each applicant would get an ID card for the camel containing all related data.

Documenting camels aims to preserve famous and rare species of camels by setting up a DNA-based data base, the club added.

The portal comprises data of camel owners, allowing them to browse and get electronic documents on their animals

The project, which gradually aims to document all camels in the kingdom, is technically and medically supervised by the club, the King Faisal Specialised Hospital and the national research centre.

Camels’ documentation is mandatory for eligible participation in events organised by the leading club.

Camels are a popular animal closely linked to heritage in Saudi Arabia. The animal has long been dubbed as the “ship of the desert”, being the lifeline for desert dwellers.