The shire of Ngaanyatjarraku in far east remote WA is in the midst of a devastating influx of camel herds.
Dry conditions across the country have caused a spike in camel numbers, which has led to the destruction of farmland and infrastructure as the animal herds search for watering holes and dams. Camels are able to travel 70kms a day to seek water, so are able to move quickly, eating into local supply for local fauna.
Damian McLean, the Shire President of Ngaanyatjarraku is hoping to secure funding for a cull within months.
“30 years ago, a camel was unusual and 15 years ago, not that common,” he said. “Now the numbers have really taken off, so it is a major problem.”
Communities in the Ngaanyatjarraku area have setup temporary water supplies kilometres away from their properties in an effort to encourage the camels to travel away from their properties. However, this has exacerbated the problem as the additional water was supporting the herds of camels.
“Once you get above 40 degrees, the camels are really reluctant to leave the water so the numbers just build and build”
To make an impact on the numbers, Damian wants several thousands of camels culled over the span of the next few years.
Camels are a pest in Australia. Introduced in 1840, Arabian Camels are now more prevalent in Australia than overseas. They live in desert country, eating shrubs over trees and fouling water holes during drought.
The primary forms of camel management in Australia include trapping near water points and shooting.