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Life

Australia's wild camel dilemma: to cull or cultivate?

Mass shooting after fires prompts calls for more feral animals to be farmed

Wild camels in South Australia: Driven from the desert by a prolonged drought, camels are descending on towns in search of water, wreaking havoc on infrastructure and endangering residents in the process.

SYDNEY -- Emerging from the sand dunes of Birubi Beach, 200 km north of Sydney, a team of camels plods slowly into the shallows of the Tasman Sea, giving visitors riding the animals an unusual experience as the waves break at their feet.

The Birubi camel ride is just a small part of a complex mosaic of activities and enterprises that has tied camels into the Australian landscape for the past 180 years. Imported from South Asia in the mid-19th century, the dromedary (one-hump) camels now are farmed for their milk, meat, hair and hide, while a few are trained and exported to the Middle East as racing camels. Their genetic material is also used to help rebuild threatened overseas stocks.

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