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

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.

Via Discovery News:

“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.

This post originally appeared on Treehugger.

Related Stories:

The Daily Show Blunders With Camel Stunt (Video)

Ask Australia to Ban Live Animal Export to Middle East

Fish & Wildlife Plan Threatens Cats’ Lives


Photo from Tambako the Jaguar via flickr
written by Michael Graham Richard, a Treehugger blogger


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Lindsay, for Sharing this!

colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

you can't use them as beast of burden. that is what savage barbarians do! camal should live free to do what it wants. it has more right to life than the natvie people of Australia. because they evolved before humans did.

being a "concern troll" is fun!!!

Yvonne L.
Yvonne L5 years ago

Spaying does not need to be surgical, medication can make animals infertile. I would also point out that in this day and age there could be a more positive solution to this man made problem. the animals could be used in many ways.. With the cost of oil rising the camels maybe one of the only modes of transport in Australia one day. What really amazes me in the postings is the total lack of respect for living creatures !!! shame on you

Yvonne L.
Yvonne L5 years ago

Spay7ing does not need to be surgical it can be effected with medication.

rene davis
irene davis6 years ago


Erica B.
Erica B6 years ago

To Colleen...AMEN sister!

colleen prinssen
colleen p6 years ago

why do people keep saying "spay them" do you people know what kind of surgery a spay is? how long does it take to spay a large dog? how long can a camel lay down for?can you roll a camel on it's back?

people "chop the balls" off of large animals for a reason, because you can. they have been doing it for years and years and years

a human hysteorictmay (acording to wikipedia) can take 1 to 3 hours, a dog spay can be done in a half hour for medium or small dogs

YOU really think they can put a camel under, put a scope down her.

where do you suggest this takes place? nobody is answering, why? did i "defeat you"

You want them to catch (let's say 100,000) female camels, round them up, put them in trailers and take their overies and uterus out. maybe ask these people to do it. they vasectomy elephants

where will they recover? will they build a huge barn? will they make am mobile surgical room?

why do people not think when they have a suggestion?

Rita Flynn
Rita Odessa6 years ago

Wow!! I never knew of this, can they spay and neuter them to control their numbers, just like cats and dogs. Is that a naive thing to say lol? One million!! This is the most unusual story I have read in a long time.
It is sad too, they were released into the wild and now their numbers are out of control, in an environment they were not meant to be, what a mess to deal with.

rossella di napoli

La colpa è sempre dell uomo !

Erica B.
Erica B6 years ago

Luisa, no matter what is done about the camel "plague," it is going to affect them in one way or another! It's just a fairytale, to think there is some way that won't bother them. It affected camels when they were BROUGHT to Australia, for God's sake!