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Smile - you're on camel camera!

If you see a camel on the street today, don't be surprised. An enterprising family man from northern China's Gansu Province just wants you to have your picture taken with it.

Difficult family circumstances and an unwillingness to become a migrant worker prompted Jiang Yitao to try to make a living in the city with a camel.

Equipped with a digital camera and a printer, Jiang charges people 10 yuan (US$1.46) to have their picture taken with the 1.8-meter tall animal. But he keeps a watchful eye out for patrolling city management officials, who might crack down on his unlicensed business.

On Xuesong Road in Putuo District yesterday, Jiang and his family worked as a team ?? Jiang taking the pictures, his daughter printing them out and his wife taking care of the camel. Since last summer, the family has been traveling around the country.

"We left Gansu last August and stayed for a couple of days to earn money in every province we passed including Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu," said Jiang, who arrived in Shanghai last Thursday.

The camel used to carry goods in his mountain hometown three years ago. But he came up with the picture idea and spent about 25,000 yuan to get the business up and running.

"The cost of the business is very high," Jiang said. "However selling pictures like this is still better paid than farming or working as a laborer."

The family rents an apartment near Xuesong Road and the camel is chained up outside. Every day, Jiang's wife feeds it vegetables.

Jiang refused to say how much he can earn every day, but the couple referred to their income as "satisfactory."

"It's a very new idea to have your picture taken with a camel - I've never seen a big camel before," said one passerby.

City management officials, however, are not amused. Yu, a Shanghai Urban Management Team official, said it was an unlicensed business and if caught, Jiang's camera and printer would be confiscated.


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