Chapter 4: Key stakeholder perceptions of feral camels: A conservation manager survey

Chapter 4: Key stakeholder perceptions of feral camels: A conservation manager survey Book Section

Managing the impacts of feral camels in Australia: a new way of doing business

  • Author(s): Zeng, B, Edwards, GP,
  • Secondary Author(s): Edwards, G., Zeng, B., Saalfeld, W, Vaarzon-Morel, P., McGregor, Murray
  • Tertiary Author(s): Desert Knowledge CRC,
  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Desert Knowledge CRC

Abstract: Through a questionnaire survey, we assessed the perspectives about feral camels and their management of people involved in managing conservation lands. The survey was designed to gauge: understanding about the distribution and abundance of feral camels perspective on camel impacts attitudes towards different camel management options. Thirteen park/reserve managers and regional managers representing seventy reserves/parks responded to the survey. These parks/reserves covered 250 629 km2, which is about 40% of the entire area of conservation lands within or on the margins of the camel range (approximately 630 811 km2). Camels occurred on 51.4% of the properties surveyed. Camels were reported to be increasing on 88.9% of the properties with camels. Camels were reported to cause damage on about 94% of the properties on which they were reported present. The monetary value of this damage and the cost of management to mitigate it was estimated to be $175 050 annually across all conservation lands within or on the margins of the camel range. All managers surveyed believed that camels caused damage to the broader environment. Three of the 70 properties surveyed reported benefits attributable to feral camels. These benefits were tangible benefits that accrued from selling camels and eating camels. The monetary value of the benefit that managers realised from feral camels was estimated to be about $34 379 annually across all conservation properties within or on the margins of the camel range, which was very small compared with the estimated negative impacts from camels. Managers reported that the major impacts of feral camels were on environmental and cultural values, the very values that reserves are endeavouring to protect. The monetary value of the negative impacts on these values was not costed in this analysis. All managers surveyed indicated that camels needed to be controlled. More than 75% of managers who responded engaged in some form of activity to manage camels on their properties. Managers engaged in all of the currently available methods for managing feral camels, with culling (shooting to waste) being the most widely used form of management. A small but significant percentage of managers were interested in pursuing alternative approaches to management, including bounties and biological control. This indicates that conservation managers may be willing to engage in new techniques in conjunction with the preferred methods. However, fewer than 24% of those surveyed indicated that they supported ‘strategic’ approaches to the control of camels and their impacts. Park/reserve personnel, government personnel, and contract shooters/musterers were involved in the management of feral camels and their impacts on parks/reserves over the past two years. It is essential that the willingness and capacity of managers of conservation land to engage in the management of feral camels be harnessed when implementing a cross-jurisdictional approach to managing feral camel impacts. While the majority of conservation land managers supported the development of a stronger camel industry in Australia, only a few currently undertake management actions involving this approach. The majority of conservation managers were either unsure or expressed a lack of confidence in the current camel industry. The majority of managers expressed the view that they would have to upgrade their current infrastructure before they could engage in the commercial use of camels. Conservation managers currently engage with governments to obtain information about camels and camel management and to secure assistance with culling operations. All managers indicated that they would welcome more assistance to manage feral camels on their land, particularly assistance with culling and direct financial assistance.

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Suggested Citation
Zeng, B, Edwards, GP,, 2008, Chapter 4: Key stakeholder perceptions of feral camels: A conservation manager survey, Book Section, viewed 11 December 2019, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4919.

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