Australia's Feral Camel Population Drops One Quarter Due to Drought, Culling

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An update on Australia's feral camel problem, both encouraging in the big picture and sad at the individual level: BBC News reports that the recent extreme drought conditions Australia suffered through and efforts to cull the camels have resulted in 250,000 of them dying off.

Until very recently it was believed that Australia's feral camel population topped 1 million, spread out over an area of 1.3 million square miles, all of them descendants of camels brought there from India in the 19th century for transportation in the outback.

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In 2011 Jan Ferguson of the Feral Camel Management Project described the damage the feral camels can cause:

They can eat up to very high heights in our trees. When water is short, they go for running water. They will take pipes and air conditioning units off of walls, and smash up toilet systems.

Damage by feral camels has caused an estimated AUS$10 million ($10.275 million).

Adding to current government efforts to kill the camels, which has to date culled 85,000 of them, there have been proposals to kill camels and collect carbon credits for the deaths, based on the notion that the camels' methane emissions can be reduced, measured, and then cashed-in upon.

Tags: Animals | Australia | Global Climate Change