Feral Camels?
Feed Them to the Crocodiles

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Feral Camels?
Feed Them to the Crocodiles

[Ed. Note: For background information read 6,000 Thirsty Camels Who Invaded Australian Town Will Be Killed. Humans move plants and animals around for human use/convenience and then use violence to solve the problems created by ecosystem disruption...]

By Sophie Tedmanson on TimesOnline.co.uk
February 2010

“If we can get camels to an abattoir, there’s definitely a market for hides and for the hump,” he said. “The hump can be used for cosmetics because it’s all fat and it will be rendered into tallow. So there’s a whole range of off-takes that has to be considered in relation to camels.”

An Aboriginal community leader has come up with a unique solution to Australia’s feral camel problem: feed them to the crocodiles.

There are more than a million feral camels running wild in the Australian Outback, and the population is expected to double within the next 8-10 years.

Last November more than 6,000 of the camels invaded the Docker River indigenous community near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory in search of water. The wild animals trampled through homes, broke water tanks and disrupted the emergency airstrip.

Expert marksmen in helicopters were brought in by the Government to cull the camels, however the problem remains with hundreds of thousands of the animals still roaming large across central Australia, causing damage to the environment and creating havoc among the local Aboriginal communities.

Tracker Tilmouth, an Aboriginal leader who works with Arnhem Meats, said that the meat from the feral camels could be provided as food for Australia’s various crocodile farms.

“They’ll definitely be able to supply camels to the crocodile farms,” Mr Tilmouth told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

He added that there are many uses for the camels.

“If we can get camels to an abattoir, there’s definitely a market for hides and for the hump,” he said. “The hump can be used for cosmetics because it’s all fat and it will be rendered into tallow. So there’s a whole range of off-takes that has to be considered in relation to camels.”

Mick Burns from the Darwin Crocodile farm said that feeding camel meat to crocodiles was a possibility, but there would need to be trials performed before it could be considered as an alternative food option for the farm.

The Darwin Crocodile farm houses 60,000 of the giant reptiles, which grow up to 18ft-long, and are farmed for skins, meat, and other products. The crocodiles eat up to 40 tons of pet meat — consisting of chicken heads and gullets and buffalo parts — a week.

“You would get a fair bit of meat out of a camel,” Mr Burns told The Times. “And there’s no question that it could be an option, but we would have to do a lot of trials to see if it’s viable.”

Mr Tilmouth will soon lead a group to harvest the camels as part of a pilot project run by the West Australian government to test whether it can be profitable. The project will help train local Aboriginal people to harvest up to 300 camels per week.

Damian Collopy from the West Australian Department of Agriculture said recently that the tender was to remove 1,000 camels, and called for ideas to make commercial use out of the animals.

“If someone can make commercial use out of the animals through live export or some other live use, or can use their carcasses for pet meat or human consumption, then the whole range of issues will be considered,” he told the ABC.

Last month camel enthusiasts in Saudi Arabia mounted an internet campaign to send the problematic animals to the desert kingdom, where camels are revered.

The rescue plan has been greeted enthusiastically in Saudi Arabia, with camel-raisers volunteering to take in the Australian animals. “I own more than 80 camels but I am quite willing to receive as many more from Australia,” Salim al-Hajjaji said. He had grown up with camels, he told Arab News, an English-language Saudi daily. “I am now about 50 years old but I am as attached to camels as I was in my boyhood.”