If the camel is fine, our life is fine.' But Somali camel herding is in jeopardy


Xijiinle, SomalilandSome camels on the beach lay splayed on their sides like sleeping cats. Others hoisted themselves up on their long legs, blinking at the brightening dawn sky. Others loped across the sand as curly-haired calves frolicked in playful loops or teetered on spindly legs, bellowing for milk.

Xijiinle is a coastal settlement of about 200 seminomadic pastoralists in Somaliland, an autonomous region of northern Somalia. The village lies at the end of a dirt road that runs 200 miles from Hargeysa, Somaliland’s capital, through a rugged landscape of dry brush, dusty gullies, and open meadows, greened from recent rain. Hamlets like this, with their domed huts made of gathered branches and draped cloths, are centers of an age-old camel herding tradition.