Australia has the highest number of wild camels in the world, which should come as no surprise since we also have the second largest expanse of arid and semi-arid land in the world.

Although there will always be something foreign seeming about the humble camel, Australia actually has the highest number of feral or wild camels in the world. Which should come as no surprise since we also have the world’s second largest expanse of arid and semi-arid land.

Commonly named Arabian, one hump or Dromedary camels, ours make up about 90 percent of the world’s population. With their double eyelashes to block sand, splayed feet to prevent sinking and ability to close their nostrils, these remarkable ships of the desert were originally imported (mostly from India) from as early as 1840 for expeditions, mail runs, heavy labour – you name it – until being replaced by motor vehicles and railways.

Now some estimates place our feral population at a million and we actually export them back overseas since our strains don’t suffer from camel diseases rampant elsewhere in the world. Camels from Australia are also considered to be fit and strong, and therefore good breeding stock.

Where // Drier parts of WA, SA, NT and some western areas of Qld. WA is home to the largest feral herd in the world, and in fact Australia is home to the only herd of wild one-humped camels on Earth. www.camelsaust.com.au

Did you know? // The first camel in Australia was a bad-tempered beast named Harry who was brought here in 1840. Six years later, Harry bumped his owner John Horrocks in the middle of reloading his rifle, causing him to blow off several fingers and most of his teeth. He died shortly after of gangrene, but not before demanding that Harry be shot as well – a wish that was dutifully carried out.

 

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