Thousands of camels are being shot dead from helicopters because of the extreme heat and drought in South Australia.
Feral camels have emerged from the dried land and have moved into communities in search of water.
Aboriginal communities have been reporting large groups of camels rampaging through towns, damaging buildings and posing a threat to the young and elderly.
A five-day cull began on Wednesday in the area of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY), a low population area of South Australia.
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AYP’s general manager Richard King said in a statement: “There is extreme pressure on remote Aboriginal communities in the APY lands and their pastoral [livestock] operations as the camels search for water.
“Given ongoing dry conditions and the large camel congregations threatening all of the main APY communities and infrastructure, immediate camel control is needed.”
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APY executive board member Marita Baker said: “We have been stuck in stinking hot and uncomfortable conditions, feeling unwell, because all the camels are coming in and knocking down fences, getting in around the houses and trying to get water through air conditioners.
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“They are roaming the streets looking for water. We are very worried about the safety of young children; they think it is fun to chase the camels but it is, of course, very dangerous.”
Thousands of animals have been killed by the vast bushfires, with many more injured or facing death after loss of their habitat.
Camels were brought to Australia by British settlers from Afghanistan and the Middle East in the 19th century.
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It is not certain how many camels there are in the country but estimates have put the number at hundreds of thousands.
Australia has been ravaged by bushfires that have killed at least 25 people since September.
Source : Sky News