Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/04/camel_carcasses/

Camel carcasses menace Outback water supplies

Drought does for Oz dromedaries, with poisonous results

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 4th December 2009 13:31 GMT

The carcasses of wild Oz camels who've succumbed to drought pose a serious threat to water supplies in the country's arid central desert, authorities have warned.

The Central Land Council says that thousands of "pools, creeks and other water supplies for local indigenous tribes" have been poisoned by the rotting animals. The council's land management chief David Alexander explained: "Some fall into waterholes and won't be able to get out so they'll rot within the water, others will chase the last remains of any water in these areas and start to compete with each other.

"We're ending up with these grisly scenes of camels in every stage of life, death and decay around waterholes."

Without substantial rainfall, the Telegraph notes, many more of the estimated one million feral camels roaming the Outback face a similar fate, which will exacerbate the poisoned water crisis.

So bad has the drought become that thousands of desperate dromedaries have invaded a Northern Territory town in search of water, "trampling through homes, breaking water tanks and even damaging the emergency airstrip".

Docker River plans to herd the camels out of town using helicopters, and then shoot them. They'll then be "left to rot", Alexander concluded. ®