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Camel damage - an overview


Feral camels pose a significant economic, environmental and social/cultural threat. Current populations already cause over $10 million damage annually, and cause damage to native vegetation, destroy infrastructure, damage wetlands/water holes, and culturally significant sites. Camels have the ability to cause local extinctions of highly preferred or palatable species like the quandong, plumbush, native apricot etc. Their impacts are most pronounced during drought when isolated waterholes become refuges for the survivial of many native animal and plant species. Camels damage pastoral enterprises through competition with stock for limited forage, and by damage to property infrastructure. Feral camels may even be a reservoir for serious diseases of livestock - some which pose a risk for human health.

Damage to economy and agriculture exceeds $10 million per year

  • Damage to infrastructure, property and people has been estimated at $5.51 million a year.
  • Camels damage fences, yards, water troughs, tanks, bores, buildings, air-conditioning units, windmills, and cause vehicle accidents that have resulted in deaths and serious injury.
  • Camels impact on livestock production through competition for food and water resoruces at an estimated cost of around $3.42 million per year.
  • Direct control and management costs are estimated at over $2.35 million per year.

Damage to the environment is significant

  • Damage to vegetation through feeding behaviour (browse on trees) and trampling resulting in erosion.
  • Ability to cause local extinction of plant species such as Quandong, Bean tree, and Curly Pod Wattle.
  • Damage to fragile arid wetlands through fouling, trampling and subsequent sedimentation, and damage to key biodiverstiy values.
  • Competition with native wildlife for food, water and shelter
  • Contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Damage to social/cultural values is serious

  • Damage to sites of cultural significance for Aboriginal people: water places (water holes, rock holes, soaks, springs etc) and special places for desert Aboriginal people. Many of these sites are sacred, and damage to them constitutes damage to the social and cultural life of Aboriginal people.
  • Destruction of sources of bush tucker
  • Reduction in enjoyment of natural areas
  • General nuisance and causing hazards for drivers, tourists and business owners    

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