Managing the impacts of feral camels in Australia.
The one-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius) is an exotic species in Australia, with their introduction in the 1840s for exploration and other transport purposes. The widespread establishment of a feral population is likely to have begun in the 1920s with the ongoing release of domestic camels associated with the increased use of motor vehicles. However, acknowledgment of feral camels as an introduced species of concern in Australia has been relatively recent: although individual landholders have no doubt experienced feral camel impacts for decades, it wasn't until detailed monitoring of camel browsing in the early 1990s and aerial survey work in the 2000s that the extent of the growing problem became apparent at a national level. A stakeholder workshop was held in 2005, with key stakeholders being landholders, government agencies, animal welfare interests and the commercial use industry. This workshop led to a three-year investigation of the feral camel population and impacts which in turn led to the current Australian Feral Camel Management Project, managed by Ninti One Ltd with support from the Australian Government and a large number of project partners. An overarching national strategy document has also been developed, the National Feral Camel Action Plan. It is not considered to be technically feasible or economically sensible to attempt to eradicate a widespread established exotic species such as feral camels and therefore the strategy is based on ongoing management to reduce and maintain densities at levels where damage is acceptable to the majority of stakeholders.