More than one million feral camels are overrunning Australian outback

May 18, 2011 AUSTRALIA — Single-humped dromedary camels were brought to Australia mainly from India in the 19th century. They transported people and equipment in the outback, but when rail and roads came, the camels were let loose, “creating the world’s only population of wild camels.” It is now estimated that more than 1 million camels are spread over 3.3 million square kilometers (±1.3 million square miles), and they are causing a lot of damage to the local ecosystems. “They can do enormous damage,” said Jan Ferguson, managing director of Ninti One Limited, the organization that manages the Feral Camel Management Project, which launched CamelScan. “They can eat up to very high heights in our trees. When water is short, they go for running water. They will take pipes and air conditioning units off of walls, and smash up toilet systems.” The camels can chug more than 50 gallons of water in three minutes and their thirst often leads to problems. Sometimes when large numbers of feral camels converge on a small waterhole, the first animals get mired in the holes and die, fouling the water and destroying the waterhole completely. These waterholes are critical resources for humans and native birds and animals. “You need to count these animals. You need to know where they are and what they’re doing,” said Ferguson. –Tree Hugger
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8 Responses to More than one million feral camels are overrunning Australian outback

  1. michelle coakley says:

    Can’t they transport them to the desert they came from and shoot some of them to help balance them out? Camels are nasty mean and very large animals!


  2. Uncle Al says:
    There’s your problem.

    Post an international notice: “Camel Culling! Hunt all you like: no season, no bag limit. $(AUS)100/camel tag.” Australia makes at least $100 million getting rid of the problem. Sarah Palin will be out there outback with her .308 and a backup helicopter. The whole of Georgia will visit, rapturous.

    Let the US Marines loose for a week, then clean up 1,000,003 shell casings. To err is human, to forgive, divine. Neither one is Marine Corps policy.


  3. Pagan says:

    There has always been a feral camel camel problem in Australia, just as there is a problem with kangaroo’s, rabbits, feral pigs & crocodiles. Many of these camels are used for human consumption, pet food & there are many camel farms in the Outback dedicated to tourism. They are in reality not so much a problem environmentally as what kangaroo’s & rabbits are. Roo’s do so much more more damage to the environment but because they’re cute, everyone is horrified when they are culled, especially the Americans. One short article does not explain the complexity of this problem.

    As for bringing in the US marines, I do hope that was posted in jest, just as the link to our gun laws was posted because the last thing we need in our country is a bunch of trigger ready guys trampling all over the Outback shooting at our wildlife. I’m sure you have your own problems closer to home before thinking of bountying our wildlife.



  4. Virginia Helies (Gen) says:

    They cull wild horses in the outback shooting them from the air so I don’t know why they havn’t been doing the same with the camels. I knew we had them in the desert but had no idea that many.


  5. otay1 says:

    Ah yes. Man: ever at the ready with destructive painful solutions to problems set up without any longterm vision re eventual results. Some innocent always pays. Always.


  6. Nymphaea says:

    I wouldn’t be so hasty as to do away with these animals. If the technology that we take for granted now becomes untenable and warring nations bring us back to a more simple existence, we may require these camels as beasts of burden again especially since the desert is thought to be expanding. One of the first things, in my humble opinion, that may get disrupted will be fuel for transport and consequently interruptions to supply. Camel trains can come in handy in those circumstances.
    At any rate a more humane way to deal with their population growth would be to sterilize breeding camels and let them live out their lives. The Australian outback will also have to undergo change if global environmental changes are taking place and humans may not have the opportunity to wax lyrical about ecosystems when they themselves are struggling to stay alive when all hell breaks loose.
    I am surprised though that the ‘controllers’ haven’t spent copious amounts of tax-payer money and constructed a ‘camel proof fence’ from one end of the desert to the next or introduced yet another biological control that gets out of control.


  7. Virginia Helies (Gen) says:

    That link is not working.

    Just type in Traders seek free camels from Australia


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