10,000 Australian camels to be culled as they drink too much water
7 January 2020, 14:19
Over 10,000 camels will be culled by professional marksmen to prevent them from drinking too much water in drought-afflicted South Australia.
The order to begin the cull comes from the Aboriginal leaders in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands.
South Australia has been afflicted by drought and dry conditions and there are concerns that the camels have been taking water from any available source, including taps and tanks.
Local communities have been complaining of camels causing havoc and invading properties in search of water.
A spokesperson for the South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW) said the increased number of camels had caused significant damage to infrastructure, danger to families and communities, along with increased grazing pressure across the APY Lands.
"In some cases, dead camels have contaminated important water sources and cultural sites," the spokesperson said.
Speaking about the cull that begins on Wednesday, APY Lands manager Richard King said, "It gives us an opportunity to get them [the camels] while they're all together, because generally they'll go and move around the desert in smaller herds," he said.
"So while they're all together it's a great time to have a cull and clean out some of the animals that are destroying some of our native vegetation."
The camels are also being culled over concerns about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, as the animals emit the methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide per year.
It is believed that if the culling of camels did not take place, their population would double every eight to 10 years.
The news of the cull comes amid reports that 480 million animals have perished in the Australian bushfires, including mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and insects .
Heartbreaking footage on Monday showed the burnt out remains of hundreds of dead koalas and kangaroos lining the sides of a road near a town in New South Wales.
The number of people that have died in the Australian bushfires has risen to 24 and over 2,000 homes have been destroyed.
A fundraiser launched by Australian comedian Celeste Barber for fire services in New South Wales raised more than A$20 million (£10.6m; $13m) in just 48 hours after Mr Barber wrote: "Please help any way you can. This is terrifying."