Culling of Camels in Australia

Culling of Camels in Australia

Australia began a five-day cull of up to 10,000 camels on Wednesday, using a sniper from helicopters to fire this xerocole animal. The exercise is taking place in South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY Lands), where the animals will be killed according to the “highest standards of animal welfare”, said authority.

Camels in Australia were first brought to the continent in the late 19th century from India when Australia’s huge interior region was first being discovered. Now the Camels populates over 10 lakhs in number, whereas 20,000 were imported between the 1840s and the 1900s from India.

The year 2019 was the hottest and driest on record in Australia. A catastrophic bushfire season, killing 25 people and has burned over 1.5 crore acres of land, ensuring the death estimated 100 crore animals.

The constant drought has pushed massive herds of feral or wild camels towards remote towns looking for water, threatening indigenous communities. Some camels have died of thirst or trampled each other as they rushed to find water.

The camels have been threatening limited reserves of water and food, damaging infrastructure and creating a hazard for drivers, said authorities. The herds have also contaminated important water storage system and cultural sites.

The APY Lands is home to about 2,300 Aboriginal Australians. In the past, inhabitants used to gather and sell the camels, but the recent drought spell has caused an unmanageable number of species to turn up.

Two Robinson R44 four-seat light helicopters are culling the animals, according to The Australian. The animals are to be killed away from communities. Unless they fall in remote and inaccessible locations, their carcasses will be burnt, said the reports.

Australia is believed to have the world's largest population of wild camels — over 10 lakhs, and are growing rapidly. The herds are considered a pest, roam in the country’s inland deserts as they trample water sources and foul native flora, while foraging for food over vast distances each day.

The camel population doubles every nine years unless their breeding is controlled. This animal has a massive carbon footprint, emitting methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide a year. Some in the APY Lands are demanding for legislation that would legalise the cull of animals and further could help offset greenhouse emissions.