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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

Camel combat returns to Turkey - in pictures

Spectators descended on Selcuk for the town's annual battle of the desert beasts

Battling beasts and their owners arrived in one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations for the country’s annual camel wrestling festival.

The sport, which has been criticised by animal rights organisations, involves two males tussling with one another in a designated space, generally in response to a female on heat being led before them.

Every year many local and overseas spectators attend the event - the biggest of its kind - with some just wanting to see the competing beasts, which are specially decorated for the occasion.

Pitting camels against one another began as a tradition among nomadic Turkish tribes about 2,400 years ago.

Turkey's camel wrestling league holds more than 30 events across the country during the season, which lasts from November to March.

The municipality of Selcuk has applied to Unesco to have the practice included in its World Heritage list, citing its historical and cultural significance to the area.

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