Ten Thousand Feral Camels To Be Killed In Drought-Ravaged Australia
The drought in the country has seen herds damaging property as they desperately search for water.
The cull has been ordered by aboriginal leaders in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY) in the far northwest of South Australia and the camels are expected to be shot from helicopters over a period of five days, starting tomorrow (Wednesday).
The dead camels will be buried or burnt where possible or left where they fall in more remote areas.
Marita Baker, an APY Lands executive board member, said her community 1,270km northwest of Adelaide had been invaded by the mammals.
Speaking to The Australian, she said: "We have been stuck in stinking hot and uncomfortable conditions, feeling unwell, because the camels are coming in and knocking down fences, getting in around the houses and trying to get to water through air conditioners."
A camel management plan published in 2010 stated that more than 1,000,000 feral camels roam the country, with their rapid rate of breeding meaning the population doubles every nine years.
The animals are said to destroy vegetation and dead camels can contaminate water sources. Moreover, there have been calls for carbon credits for culling feral camels, as the population is thought to produce the annual equivalent of 400,000 cars' worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
APY Lands manager Richard King said now was the right time to cull the camels.
According to ABC, he said: "It gives us an opportunity to get them while they're all together, because generally they'll go and move around the desert in smaller herds.
"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.
"Some people, in this sort of weather, are unable to put their air conditioners on, for fear that the animals are going to attack their air conditioners for their moisture."
According to The Australian, a spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Environment, said international greenhouse gas accounting authorities 'advise that emissions from feral animals should not be considered in a country's emissions estimate, and that emissions should only be considered from animals under domestic management'.
They continued: "As a result, Australia does not report on emissions from feral animals. Therefore, activities that change the emissions from feral animals cannot be subject to an Emissions Reduction Fund method, as they are unable to result in eligible carbon abatement and cannot contribute to Australia's emissions reduction targets."
The cull was met with resistance by Christian Aboriginal communities, who see camels as sacred due to their role in the nativity of Jesus.
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