The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Who owns feral camels? Implications for managers of land and resources in central Australia

Stephen T. Garnett A , Greg Williams B , Gillian B. Ainsworth A D and Michael O’Donnell C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.

B School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.

C Barrister, John Toohey Chambers, Darwin, NT 0800, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: gill.ainsworth@cdu.edu.au

The Rangeland Journal 32(1) 87-93 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ09047
Submitted: 11 July 2009  Accepted: 17 December 2009   Published: 23 March 2010

Abstract

This paper reviews the legislation relating to ownership of feral camels in Australia. We find that, as a general proposition, a feral camel is owned by neither the landowner nor the Government (the Crown), unless State or Territory legislation provides otherwise. This occurs in two limited situations and only for New South Wales and South Australia. Relevant State and Territory legislation can prescribe that feral camels cannot be taken or used without a relevant licence or permit, but only Western Australia and Queensland appear to do this. Lack of legislative certainty about ownership of camels has resulted in a clear market failure whereby there is also little or no private incentive to exercise control. This should be corrected by identifying explicitly that ownership is vested in the Crown. Legal analogues exist with respect to disease control and water management that could form the basis of an appropriate legislative framework.

Additional keywords: legislation, management, ownership, responsibility, welfare.


Acknowledgments

The work reported in this publication is supported by funding from the Australian Government Natural Heritage Trust through the Desert Knowledge (DK) CRC; the views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government or the Desert Knowledge CRC or its participants. The authors would also like to thank DK CRC for inviting us to submit this paper. We also thank the following for their contribution to this research: Rachel Carey, Helen Haritos and Jeremy McGrath as well as the camel project steering committee for their expert advice and feedback.


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