One million wild camels terrorize Australia

Wild camels are becoming a serious problem in Australian outback

feral wild camels terrorize australia

Over one million feral (wild) camels are damaging the Australian outback. The single-humped dromedary camels were brought mainly from India in the second half of the 19th century by the British to work in the scrubby, red-earthed arid parts of the Australian outback, transporting people and as pack animals. Once trains, roads and machinery made them obsolete as workers, the camels were let loose, creating the world’s only population of wild camels.

The wild camels are spread over an area of 1.3 million square miles. An estimated 40 percent of the camels are on Aboriginal lands. About 18 months ago, 3,000 camels descended on one Aboriginal community during a period of drought. The camels can suck up 50 gallons of water in a matter of minutes and if water is scarce, the wild camels descend on small communities and attack air conditioning units and plumbing systems. The damage is costing about $10 million per year.
 

Wild camel cull

Government-sanctioned aerial culls of wild camels were carried out last year to reduce the size of the herd, but the problem has continued. The thrashing and fouling of water holes is also affecting the indigenous bird and kangaroo populations.
A more concerted and serious cull of wild camels is now being considered by the Australian government.

19th century camel train carrying railway supplies


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Posted by on May 24, 2011. Filed under Nature. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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5 Responses to One million wild camels terrorize Australia

  1. jenny40

    May 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I never heard of such a thing. This is crazy. I never even knew they had camels in Aussie Land.

  2. Sagacious Hillbilly

    May 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    How do these camels, which have been undergoing natural selection for a relatively brief 150 yrs or so compare to the domestic variety that have been carefully controlled? And just what is a camel anyway?

  3. Jihad punk

    May 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Hillbilly : Camels have 2 humps, Dromedary’s have 1.

    The Dromedary IS a camel though…specifically of Arabian origin.

    The humps are fatty deposits and don’t, has legend often has it, contain any water at all.

    The fatty deposits (humps, plural or singular) store fatty deposits to ‘feed’ the camel in it’s natural enviroment of desert…which clearly offers little food much of the time.

    I’m winging it a bit here but I think I’m reasonably on the right track – I probably should Google it but couldn’t be arsed.

    I suppose the Aussies could treat ,em as illigal aliens and send ,em packing back to Saudi or wherever?..Mind you that wouldn’t half give them the hump…;-)

    …sorry…I’ll get my coat….

  4. Leslie Parsley

    May 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I think they should ship them to Arizona.

  5. Sagacious Hillbilly

    May 25, 2011 at 12:05 am

    I was hoping Chris would give us some taxonomy info.