Photo: World of Sport
Australia has a feral camel problem. The Australian Feral Camel Management Project estimates that 1 million of rogue dromedaries roam outback Australia, annually causing over $14 million AUD worth of damage to infrastructure and livelihoods across more than 3 million km2 (1.1 million m2). As well as immeasurable damage to the natural environment and aboriginal cultural values.
The Australian newspaper has noted that camels are the planet's third-highest carbon-emitting animal per head, and culling Australia's feral herds would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road.* Hence a new scheme to recycle the camels into Australian Rules Footballs.
Photo: Hans Boessem for Australian Feral Camel Management Project.
Sherrin has been making leather balls for Australia's own code of football for the past 130 years. Mostly they have used cow leather. The new plan has them making footballs from the leather skins of culled feral camels. The leather will then be hand stitched by local Indigenous people from Central Australia, where the camels create the most havoc, which is a nice twist.
The scheme is likely to be supported on the ground, not only because aborigines are excellent artists and craftspeople, but also because indigenous Australians are mad keen proponents of Australian Rules Football. Wikipedia observes that players of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent make up 11% of club playing lists, rather disproportionate being 2.3% of the general population. (and that's a considerable achievement in an all ready fanatical sports nation -- The Australian Football League Grand Final is currently the highest attended club championship event in the world.)
Whilst killing sentient beings is distasteful, culling feral camels in Australia seems to be one of the few realistic options available to reduce the considerable damage these animals are causing. The problem is certainly not going away of it's own accord, with the feral camel population doubling every eight to nine years. We have previously detailed plans to feed feral camel meat to humans and to crocodiles (see links below), but this plan relates more to active sports than to eating and that has to be a good thing.
* Some of the greenhouse gas emissions saving will be lost in this scheme, as the camel hides will be sent to the southern states for tanning, before returning to Central Australia for hand stitching.
More Australian Feral Animal Initiatives
• Eat A Camel, Save Australia's Environment
• Australia's Invading Camels Soon to Be Croc Food
• Tiger Droppings To Help Control Ferals
• Get Hopping, It's The Easter Bilby
• Invasion! Cane Toads Unstoppable in Australian Heat
• Toad Hunters Offered Beer Bounty, say ABC
• Organic Wool (and ... shhh, Possumdown)
• Untouched World: Kool Kiwi Klothes