It’s peak camel wrestling season in southwest Turkey, and cameleers in the region are traveling from town to town to have their camels compete in wrestling matches.
Camels are herd animals the males naturally wrestle each other in order to establish dominance and mating rights. The Yoruk people, who are native to the region, have lived with camels for ages and consider them to be sacred. They also consider them a spectator sport — for generations, they’ve celebrated the wrestling season, inviting others to share in the camels’ natural mating habits.
This year, over 140 of Turkey’s elite wrestling camels competed at the 36th annual camel wrestling competition in the town of Selçuk.
Typically held in the third week of January, the competition in Selçuk is generally thought of as the most prestigious in the camel wrestling world, because it is scheduled when camels are in peak heat — a spectacle that often draws tens of thousands of people, from all around the world.
This segment originally aired February 14, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.