More Than 1 Million Feral Camels are Taking Over the Australian Outback

camels photo

Photo: Obliot, Flickr, CC

Not Your Typical Invasive Species

Single-humped dromedary camels were brought to Australia mainly from India in the 19th century. They transported people and equipment in the outback, but when rail and roads came, the camels were let loose, "creating the world's only population of wild camels". It is now estimated that more than 1 million camels are spread over 3.3 million square kilometers (±1.3 million square miles), and they are causing a lot of damage to the local ecosystems.

camel photo

Photo: Tambako, Flickr, CC

"They can do enormous damage," said Jan Ferguson, managing director of Ninti One Limited, the organization that manages the Feral Camel Management Project, which launched CamelScan. "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." [...]

The camels can chug more than 50 gallons of water in three minutes and their thirst often leads to problems. Sometimes when large numbers of feral camels converge on a small waterhole, the first animals get mired in the holes and die, fouling the water and destroying the waterhole completely. These waterholes are critical resources for humans and native birds and animals. [...]

"You need to count these animals. You need to know where they are and what they're doing," said Ferguson.

The website to track them is callled CamelScan and it uses the Google Maps API.

camels photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC

If you like this article, you can follow me on Twitter (@Michael_GR) and Stumbleupon (THMike). Thanks.

Via Discovery News
More on Animals
Even Penguins that Don't Live on Ice Feel Impact of Global Warming
Holy Cash, Batman! Bats Worth Up to $53 Billion to American Economy
India Says Wild Tiger Population Up by 15%, But Some Doubt the Accuracy of that Number
Fewer than 50 Wild Tigers Left in China, Says Wildlife Conservation Society
Mass Grave Containing Rare Animals (Tigers, Lions, Leopards, etc) Discovered at Chinese Zoo

Related Content on