Hard times ahead for salt-carrying camels of Timbuktu

With a long, gurgling groan, Lakhmar fell awkwardly to his knees in the roasting hot sand outside the town of Timbuktu. For the past six years he has been making the same gruelling trek across the Sahara desert to the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali. But each journey is becoming more of a struggle. Lakhmar, a 10-year-old male camel with a metal ring in his flaring right nostril, left it to his owner, Boujima Handak, to explain their predicament.

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