Australia is swamped by camel orders and the numbers keep going up
After many Nature and news correspondents wrote about the million wild camels up for slaughter/culling in the Outback of Australia Australian producers are being swamped with requests for live camels and camel meat, especially from the Middle East, after a soaring wild population prompted a government cull, companies said.
There have been hundreds of requests but no ship to transport them. The transport fees make the cost very high.
Strong foreign demand could save camels from being culled, but warned that the animals were too tall for conventional ships used to carry cattle. Who has ships that could transport these camels?
Left unchecked these feral camels will negatively impact on the environment
Camels feed on more than 80% of the available plant species. Degradation of the environment occurs when densities exceed two animals per km squared, which is presently the case throughout much of their range in the Northern Territory where they are confined to two main regions: the Simpson Desert and fringing pastoral properties, and the western desert area comprised of the Central Ranges, Great Sandy Desert and Tanami Desert.
Some traditional food plants harvested by Aboriginal people in these areas are seriously affected by camel browsing. While having soft-padded feet makes soil erosion less likely, feral camels do have a noticeable impact on salt lake ecosystems, foul waterholes and destabilise dune crests which contributes to erosion.
The current population is doubling approximately every nine years and there is evidence that impacts will increase along with the population. The significant damage that camels have done, and are currently doing, to the fragile ecosystems, cultural sites, isolated communities, and pastoral enterprises of desert Australia has gone largely unnoticed by the bulk of Australia’s population.
The effects on built infrastructure may be severe, as camels may sometimes destroy taps, pumps and even toilets as a means to obtain water, particularly in times of severe drought. They also damage stock fences and cattle watering points. These effects are felt particularly in Aboriginal and other remote communities where the costs of repairs is prohibitive.
The problem with invading camels searching for water has become great enough that the Australian authorities have planned to eradicate as many as 6,000 camels that has become a nuisance in the community Docker River, where the camels have caused severe damages in their search for food and water.
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.seeddaily.com/Australia_swamped_by_camel_orders.html
Excerpts courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_feral_camel
Image courtesy of http://www.seeddaily.com