Chapter 8: Review of non-commercial control methods for feral camels in Australia

Chapter 8: Review of non-commercial control methods for feral camels in Australia Report

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

  • Author(s): Saalfeld, WK, Zeng, B,
  • Secondary Author(s): Edwards, GP, McGregor, MJ, Zeng, B, Vaarzon-Morel, P, Saalfeld, WK
  • Tertiary Author(s): Desert Knowledge CRC,
  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Desert Knowledge CRC
  • Volume: DKCRC Research Report No. 47

Abstract: Current management of feral camels falls far short of an integrated management approach, with limited integration of different control methods or across jurisdictions (Edwards et al. 2004, Norris & Low 2005) and, to date, having had little effect on population growth or in mitigating camel impacts. A range of control methods, both commercial and non-commercial, are available for the management of feral camels, and most have been implemented to some extent. This chapter reviews non-commercial control methods which can be applied to mitigate the negative impacts of feral camels. To date non-commercial control has primarily consisted of aerial platform (helicopter) shooting, ground-based shooting, and exclusion fencing. Chemical (poison), biological, and fertility controls are not currently in use, although a review undertaken for this project (Lapidge et al. 2008) has identified a number of potential avenues for further consideration. Of the three non-commercial methods in current use, aerial shooting is the most widely implemented by management agencies. The majority of ground-based shooting is opportunistic in nature and implemented individually by pastoralists rather than by management agencies. Fencing has been limited to a number of waterholes of both cultural and conservation significance in central Australia. Aerial shooting has been identified as the non-commercial control method with the greatest applicability (Edwards et al. 2004, Norris & Low 2005) to broadscale feral camel management. The cost range reflects the availability of animals at different densities. Although the detailed nature of the cost density relationship is unknown for camels, indicative costs are $20–$30 per animal at high density (densities greater than 0.3 animals/km2); $40–$100 per animal for densities in the range 0.3–0.1 animals/km2; and a cost per animal greater than $100 for densities less than 0.1 animals/km2. The limitations of ground-based shooting compared with aerial shooting include restricted access to animals and reduced ability to remove large quantities of animals. Ground-based shooting has limited applicabilty for broadscale population reduction and will primarily fill a long-term management role of maintaining low density populations through opportunistic shooting integrated with other activities. The high cost of fencing, particularly for areas greater than a few hectares, and the fact that fencing does not affect population size and growth, greatly limits the applicability of fencing in managing the impacts of feral camels. Fencing is primarily applicable to the protection of high value cultural and conservation assets where the total exclusion of feral camels is mandatory to prevent any damage to the assets. Fencing is not considered a broadscale management tool.

Cite this document

Suggested Citation
Saalfeld, WK, Zeng, B,, 2008, Chapter 8: Review of non-commercial control methods for feral camels in Australia, Volume:DKCRC Research Report No. 47, Report, viewed 06 December 2023,

Endnote Mendeley Zotero Export Google Scholar

Share this page

Search again