On the beach

indiafrank

Parkside, Australia

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FEATURED IN AS IS PHOTOGRAPHY
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322 viewings as of 16 August 2018.

Camels at Victor Harbor, South Australia.

Australian feral camels, are feral populations of two species of camel; mostly dromedaries (Camelus dromedarius) but also some bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus). Imported into Australia from Arabia, India and Afghanistan during the 19th century for transport and construction during the colonisation of the central and western parts of Australia, many were released into the wild after motorised transport replaced the camels’ role in the early 20th, forming a fast-growing feral population.

By 2008, it was feared that this population numbered about one million, and was projected to double every 8–10 years. Serious degradation of the local environment also threatened native species. A culling program was introduced in response, and by 2013 the feral population was estimated to have been reduced to around 300,000.

The first 24 camels were imported in 1860 for the Burke and Wills expedition. At least 15,000 camels with their handlers came to Australia between 1870 and 1900, primarily for transport use across the centre of the arid continent. Most of these camels were dromedaries, especially from India, including the Bikaneri war camel from Rajasthan as a riding camel and lowland Indian camels for heavy work. Other dromedaries included the Bishari riding camel of North Africa and Arabia. Camels from the other main camel species, bactrians, were introduced from China and Mongolia.

The first suggestion of bringing camels to Australia was made in 1822 by Conrad Malte-Brun, whose Universal Geography contains the following;

“For such an expedition, men of science and courage ought to be selected. They ought to be provided with all sorts of implements and stores, and with different animals, from the powers and instincts of which they may derive assistance. They should have oxen from Buenos Aires, or from the English settlements, mules from Senegal, and dromedaries from Africa or Arabia. The oxen would traverse the woods and the thickets; the mules would walk securely among rugged rocks and hilly countries; the dromedaries would cross the sandy deserts. Thus the expedition would be prepared for any kind of territory that the interior might present. Dogs also should be taken to raise game, and to discover springs of water; and it has even been proposed to take pigs, for the sake of finding out esculent roots in the soil. When no kangaroos and game are to be found the party would subsist on the flesh of their own flocks. They should be provided with a balloon for spying at a distance any serious obstacle to their progress in particular directions, and for extending the range of observations which the eye would take of such level lands as are too wide to allow any heights beyond them to come within the compass of their view.”

After their use was finally superseded by modern transport by around 1930, some cameleers released their camels into the wild. These camels became the source for the large population of feral camels still existing today. Australia is the only country with feral herds of camels, and has the largest population of feral camels and the only herd of dromedary (one-humped) camels exhibiting wild behaviour in the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_feral_c...

Artwork Comments

  • Keala
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  • indiafrank
  • Marie Sharp
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  • Karen Checca
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