Locals in one region of the Australian Outback have been terrorized of late by a roaming band of feral camels. Drought conditions and a recent heat wave are being blamed for driving some 6,000 camels into residential areas near the Docker River, where they have been competing for water with cattle--much to the dismay of the town's 350 inhabitants. So desperate for assistance, they've enlisted the help of a meat-processing company and local aborigines to thin the camel numbers--by feeding them to crocodiles.Camels Have Been a Persistent Problem
Last year, Australian security forces tried to drive the camels away from developed areas by spooking them with gunfire. Eventually, though, they resorted to shooting them outright, leaving them to decompose in the sun-baked desert.
In years past, officials even went as far as to encourage people to start eating camel meat, but even the hearty Australian appetite wasn't enough curb the problem.
The Camels Invade, Yet Again
So now, as the heat of summer comes into full-swing, the camels are back--driven by thirst towards the populated area near the Docker River. This time, locals have asked the help of Arnhem Meats and aborigines in the region to round up the camels. A spokesman for the company, Tracker Tilmouth, told O Estado that the camel meat will be sold to crocodile farms.
Tilmouth also mentioned a pending trade agreement, whereby the camel fat would be used as tallow by cosmetics manufacturers.
How the Camels Got to Australia
The camels are not native to Australia, but are descendents of those brought to the continent by the British in the 1800s to help them explore the vast Outback. Today, there are an estimated 1 million camels in the country, according to a report from Folha.
Scientists warn that the population of camels could double in ten years.