Feral camels take over remote Australian township

Sydney, Nov 26 (DPA) A herd of 6,000 camels is terrorising the remote far-north Australian township of Docker River, Northern Territory Local Government Minister Rob Knight told the Darwin parliament.

He said Wednesday that the locals, mostly Aborigines, were afraid to leave their homes because the thirsty animals had taken charge.

“The community of Docker River is under siege by 6,000 marauding wild camels,” he said. “This is a significant community — some 350 people — where they’ve actually come right into the community, smashing infrastructure, so it’s become a critical situation.”

There are over one million camels roaming central Australia — the world’s largest herd — and the numbers double every seven years.

In July the federal government allocated 14 million Australian dollars ($12 million) to pay sharpshooters to kill camels from helicopters.

Graham Taylor, chief of Macdonnell Shire Council, said helicopters would shoo the Docker River camels 15 kilometres away from the town, to a place where they could be shot and their bodies left to rot.

The first camels were imported in the 1840s and over the next 60 years around 10,000 arrived to work as beasts of burden. The coming of motor vehicles in the 1920s rendered them obsolete and they were simply set free to fend for themselves.