A major project to reduce the environmental and economic impact of feral camels on remote central Australian landscapes is coming to a close.
The $19 million survey and management project has reduced camel numbers by about 160,000 over the past four years, surveys suggest.
When roaming in unmanaged numbers, feral camels threaten vegetation, wildlife and cultural assets, and damage community and pastoral industry infrastructure.
The achievements and outcomes of the Australian Feral Camel Management Project will be outlined in Canberra this week.
Jan Ferguson, the managing director of Ninti One, which coordinated the project, said a significant reduction in feral camel densities had been achieved around the 18 environmental sites targeted - especially in the Simpson Desert and Pilbara regions.
“As a result of feral camel management, native vegetation, wildlife and waterholes are in better condition over large tracts of landscape, and the cattle industry has experienced reduced camel pressure on grazing lands,” she said.
The program was designed to:
- Reduce camel impacts at 18 known biodiversity sites
- Reduce the impacts of camels in pastoral areas, and
- Improve the information on feral camel population.
Before the program began, native wildlife, pasture, water resources and cultural heritage were all at considerable risk from a growing herd of feral camels, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, a Ninti One press statement said.
Camels were introduced as transport animals more than 100 years ago and turned loose when other forms of transport replaced them. More....