Tourism or Tucker – The Plight of the Australian Camel.

Tourism or Tucker – The Plight of the Australian Camel.

The Egyptians may have cornered the market on pyramids, but it is Australia that remains home to the world’s largest population of wild camels. In Western Australia these ‘ships of the desert’ roam the outback in herds up to 100-strong and the Australian Camel are reaching plague proportions.

New Eco-Menu Item? “A three-year study has found the population of more than a million feral camels is now out of control and damaging desert ecosystems, water sources, rare plants and animals. The Recommendation: "Eat Them, It's a Bit Like Beef" Professor Murray McGregor: "Its beautiful meat. It's a bit like beef. It's as lean as lean; it's an excellent health food".  

In the 1860’s about 10,000 camels were imported into Australia, mostly from Palestine and India. The single-humped dromedary camels were used as draft and riding animals by people pioneering the dry interior. The Afghans famously used the camels in the construction of the “Ghan Railway”. When their work was done and road and rail connected the Australian interrior, the animals were just turned loose creating the world's only population of wild camels. Since then their population has doubled every eight or nine years.

Head up to Broome, a resort town in WA’s tropical northwest and you can ride a domesticated camel, and take a sunset ride along the famous white sands of Cable Beach. Whilst camels have now been identified as an environmental threat, they now play a significantly different role in Western Australia. Camels are now firmly in entrenched in the Broome/Cable Beach tourist strategy and each day long caravans carry tourists up and down stretches of Cable Beach and is rapidly becoming a “Must Do” experience while visiting the area. A possible solution: Saudi Arabians and other Muslim Countries Importing Camels from Australia for meet.

The Central Australian Camel Industry Association recently told the BBC, that the Saudis need to import Australian camels for meat production, because the use of their own stock is for breeding and racing purposes only. "The Saudis do not have enough [camels] for their own consumption of meat," Hundreds of thousands of camels are slaughtered every year during the Muslim pilgrimage, or Hajj, in Mecca. The Saudis have traditionally imported camels from North Africa, but a combination of disease, drought and political instability has led them to look elsewhere. Camel meat is also consumed elsewhere in the Muslim world - a fact not lost on Australian camel-exporters who are looking at is catering to Muslim countries worldwide. The Central Australian Camel Industry Association is now targeting its neighbour Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

Anyone Fancy a Camel Burger? 


Brent Narbey
Brent Narbey
: 12 Apr 2009 (Last updated: 13 Sep 2019)

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