TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Helicopter-borne marksmen killed more than 5,000 camels in a five-day cull of feral herds that were threatening indigenous communities in drought-stricken areas of southern Australia, officials said.
Aboriginal leaders in South Australia state said extremely large herds of the non-native camels had been driven towards rural communities by drought and extreme heat, threatening scarce food and drinking water, damaging infrastructure, and creating a dangerous hazard for drivers.
The cull in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands — home to about 2,300 indigenous people in the arid northwest of South Australia — ended on Sunday, said APY general manager Richard King.
“We appreciate the concerns of animal rights activists, but there is significant misinformation about the realities of life for non-native feral animals, in what is among the most arid and remote places on Earth,” King said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Australian media.
APY officials said the operation had removed more than 5,000 camels.
The cull came as Australia experienced its hottest and driest year on record in 2019, with the severe drought causing some towns to run out of water and fuelling deadly bushfires that have devastated the country’s southeast.
Camels were first introduced to Australia in the 1840s to aid in the exploration of the continent’s vast interior, with up to 20,000 imported from India in the six decades that followed.