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Australian authorities announced plans to kill between 5,000 and 10,000 camels – as well as a number of wild horses – earlier this week.
According to the APY* local government authority in the state of South Australia, the cull – which was scheduled to take place yesterday – was targetting the animals because they are looking for water.
The country is facing water shortages because of the bushfires roaring across New South Wales and Victoria, with APY describing the cull as an ‘urgent response to threats posed to communities by an increase in the number of feral camels, and some feral horses, due to drought and extreme heat’.
The organization added that the thousands of camels ’emerging from an arid landscape and moving into communities looking for water’ are doing ‘significant damage to infrastructure and housing, and creating serious safety hazards’.
“There is extreme pressure on remote Aboriginal communities in the APY Lands and their pastoral operations as the camels search for water,” Richard King, APY’s general manager, said in a statement.
“The dire situation is compounded by dry conditions, animal welfare issues, threats to communities, scarce water supplies, health and environmental impacts, the destruction of country, loss of food supplies and endangerment of travelers on the Stuart Highway and across the APY Lands.
“Given ongoing dry conditions and the large camel congregations threatening all of the main APY communities and infrastructure, immediate camel control is needed.”
Updates have not yet been released until on the status of the cull.
*The APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) is a local government area for Aboriginal Australians.