camels on the loose

When I first heard a report about this on the radio today, I wondered why Australia would choose to cull its cattle herds in such a strange manner.  Surely there is a market for cows?  Maybe you could eat the meat?  Maybe their hides would make good boots?  Perhaps people need decorative skulls to paint?  Anyway, I eventually realized that the reporter was actually talking about camels, which is still puzzling but in a completely different way.

From my cursory studies of the Land Down Under and from my annual viewing of the Austalian Open, I am familiar with some of the continent’s fauna–koalas, kangaroos, dingos, and even the wombat.  I, however, never remember being told that Australia hosts about 1 million camels and that this particular population is causing great environmental distress as well as possible emotional distress for the people that encounter its wrath when the camel focuses its rage on their homes and persons.

Anyway, following in Alaska’s footsteps of dealing with wolves, Australia is planning to control its herds of camels (Do they move in herds?  Packs?  Mobs?) through sharpshooters taking out some of the animals from the comfort of a helicopter.  Cruel?  The most realistic option?  I don’t even pretend to know.  I do know, however, that after watching Bear Grylls playing house with a camel in the Sahara I would never want to encounter one on any continent.

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