Australia’s Imported Camels


Australia’s huge camel problem

♬ original sound – distant elephant

Once upon a time, in the dusty expanses of the Australian Outback, a grand plan was hatched by the British Empire. In the 1840s, faced with the vast, parched interior of this new continent, they decided to import between 10,000 and 20,000 camels to assist with travel and transportation. These “ships of the desert” were seen as the perfect solution to the logistical nightmare that was traversing Australia’s immense landmass.

Fast forward a few decades and along came the automobile. The once-indispensable camels were now deemed redundant and, in a twist of fate that could only happen in Australia, were set free into the wild. What could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, a lot. The camels thrived. Australia’s outback, with its vast stretches of desert, was like paradise for these resilient creatures. They multiplied rapidly, their numbers exploding to an estimated 300,000 by 2008. The feral camels, with their voracious appetites, wreaked havoc on the environment, devastating croplands, and waterholes, and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

In a bid to control this population explosion, the Australian government launched a culling program in 2008, which saw the reduction of the camel population by about 160,000. However, managing the remaining population remains an ongoing challenge. Despite these efforts, camels are still causing chaos in the outback.

You might be wondering, with all these camels around, what’s the solution? Well, our friends in Somalia and Saudi Arabia seem to have the answer: why not export them? In places like Somalia, camels are considered valuable assets, often fetching prices of up to $2,000 each. Even Saudi Arabia is keen on buying camels, turning a potential pest problem into a lucrative export opportunity.

For those interested in getting a closer look at Australia’s camel dilemma, this TikTok video provides a fascinating snapshot of the situation.

In the meantime, Australians could take a leaf out of their ancestors’ book and embrace the culinary potential of camels. Camel meat, after all, is quite nutritious, and camel milk is touted as highly beneficial. If the taste for kangaroo can catch on, why not camel?

To the adventurous and entrepreneurial out there, consider this: where Australia sees a problem, you might see opportunity. So next time you’re in the market for a camel, or perhaps just a wild story to tell at dinner parties, remember the camels of Australia. They’re more than just a part of history; they’re a testament to nature’s resilience and a quirky chapter in Australia’s ever-fascinating narrative.