Feral camels in South Australia will be killed to stop the animals drinking water in the drought-ravaged region.
More than 10,000 camels will be culled by professional shooters in helicopters from Wednesday after an order from Aboriginal leaders in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands (AYP).
The culling, which is expected to take five days, comes as communities complain of the feral creatures invading properties in search of water.
There is also concern the animals are contributing to global warming as they emit methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide a year.
‘We have been stuck in stinking hot and uncomfortable conditions, feeling unwell, because the camels are coming in and knocking down fences, getting in around the houses and trying to get to water through airconditioners,’ APY executive board member Marita Baker told The Australian.
The feral camel population would double every nine years if a pest control plan is not undertaken, National Feral Camel Management Plan claimed.
And as camels emit methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide a year, APY has called for the culling to result in award carbon credits being awarded.
Tim Moore, chief executive of carbon farming specialists RegenCo, said one million feral camels emitting the effect of a tonne of CO2 per year was the equivalent of an additional 400,000 cars on the road.
However, the Department of Energy and Environment said emissions from feral animals should not be considered in a country’s emissions estimate as they are not under domestic management.
‘Australia does not report on emissions from feral animals. Therefore, activities that change the emissions from feral animals cannot be subject to an Emissions Reduction Fund method, as they are unable to result in eligible carbon abatement and cannot contribute to Australia’s emissions reduction targets.’