Camel Culling in Australia

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January 10, 2020
1 month

Why in news?

Australia began a five-day cull of up to 10,000 camels, using sniper fire from helicopters.

What is the move?

  • The exercise is taking place in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (called APY Lands) in South Australia state.
  • The animals there will be killed according to the “highest standards of animal welfare”.
  • The animals are to be killed away from communities.
  • Their carcasses will be burnt, unless they fall in remote and inaccessible locations.

How did camels find presence in Australia?

  • Camels in Australia were first brought to the continent in the late 19th century from India.
  • It was the time when Australia’s massive interior region was first being discovered.
  • Over 20,000 were imported from India between the 1840s and the 1900s.
  • Australia is now believed to have the largest population of wild camels in the world - over 10 lakh, which is rapidly growing.

Why is the decision now to kill them?

  • The APY Lands is located in Australia’s southeast and home to about 2,300 Aboriginal Australians.
  • In the past, the inhabitants used to gather the camels and sell them.
  • But, the recent drought spell has caused an unmanageable number of animals to turn up.
  • The herds roam in the country’s inland deserts, and are considered a pest, as they foul water sources and trample native flora.
  • Unless their breeding is controlled, the camel population doubles every 9 years.
  • The animals also have a massive carbon footprint, each camel emitting methane equivalent to one tonne of carbondioxide a year.
  • The year 2019 was the driest and hottest on record in Australia.
  • A catastrophic bushfire season, that began months before usual, has left many dead. (Click here to know more)
  • It has also burned over 1.5 crore acres of land, killing an estimated 100 crore animals.
  • The acute drought has pushed massive herds of feral or wild camels towards remote towns looking for water.
  • This has endangered the indigenous communities.
  • Some camels have died of thirst or trampled each other as they rushed to find water.
  • The camels have been threatening scarce reserves of food and water.
  • Besides, they have been damaging infrastructure and creating a hazard for drivers.
  • Some in the APY Lands are now demanding legislation that would allow them to legally cull the animals, which could help offset greenhouse emissions.


Source: Indian Express

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