10,000 feral camels to be killed in Australia for putting families, communities at risk

Feral camels in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands.
Feral camels in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. Photo credit: Getty

Up to 10,000 feral camels in Australia will be killed due to concerns they're water-starved and are putting families and infrastructure at risk.

Indigenous elders from South Australia's Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands gave the green light for the culling after their traditional methods of managing the land's camel population failed, news.com.au reported.

Landowners traditionally mustered the animals for sale, but the Department of Environment and Water claim dry conditions have made the feral population unmanageable after a balloon in numbers.

It is reported that as the parched camels flock to find water, they're destroying infrastructure in the process and are putting local families in danger.

Managers of the APY Lands say the camels wreak havoc wherever they go.

"We have been stuck in stinking hot and uncomfortable conditions, feeling unwell, because the camels are coming in and knocking down fences, getting in around the houses and trying to get to water through air conditioners," APY board member Marita Baker told The Australian.

Her local community Kanypi is one of many towns to be taken over by the camels.

A spokesperson from the South Australia Department of Environment and Water told news.com.au there are welfare issues for the animals, because some die of thirst or trample each other as they reach water.

"In some cases, dead animals have contaminated important water sources and cultural sites," they said.

Professional shooters in helicopters will destroy up to 10,000 camels. The cull will begin on Wednesday and is expected to be complete within five days. It will be conducted in "accordance with the highest standards of animal welfare".