Australian authorities began killing at least 10,000 wild camels on Wednesday because they’re drinking too much water. Because of the heat in South Australia, camels are entering areas where people live in desperate search of water.
According to the government, the big camel population has endangered communities in the desert region as they try to access water in the middle of one of the worst droughts in the country’s history.
The area’s local government, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY), said in a statement on Facebook that “extremely large groups of camels” are “putting pressure on the remote Aboriginal communities” as they search for water.
The South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW) estimates 10,000 camels are flocking to water sources like tanks and taps.
The perfect moment to kill
APY Lands manager Richard King told national broadcaster ABC that they would try to kill the camels when they approach water sources: “It gives us an opportunity to get them while they’re all together, because generally they’ll go and move around the desert in smaller herds.”
“So while they’re all together, it’s a great time to have a cull and clean out some of the animals that are destroying some of our native vegetation,” he added.
The coming five days, snipers will shoot at the wild camels from helicopters.
This news comes at the same time ecologists estimate that since September almost one billion animals have died in the Australian fires.