5,000 feral camels culled in drought-hit Australia

SYDNEY (AFP) – 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 yesterday.

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 last 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 yesterday.