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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 32(1)

Distribution and abundance of the feral camel (Camelus dromedarius) in Australia

W. K. Saalfeld A C, G. P. Edwards B

A Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts, and Sport, PO Box 496, Palmerston, NT 0831, Australia.
B Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts, and Sport, PO Box 1120, Alice Springs, NT 0871, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: keith.saalfeld@nt.gov.au
 
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Abstract

In this paper we utilised a range of data sources to estimate the extent, density distribution and population size of the feral camel in Australia in 2008. Camels currently occupy 3.3 million km2 and are spread across much of arid Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and far western Queensland. Up to 50% of Australia’s rangelands are reported as having camels present. The research reported here supports a current minimum population estimate for the feral camel in Australia of ~1 million animals at an overall density of 0.29 camels/km2. Densities vary, and the modelling of available data indicates that two substantial areas of high density are present, one centred on the Simpson Desert and the other on the Great Sandy Desert. The high density area covering the eastern part of the Great Sandy Desert has predicted densities in the range of 0.5 to >2 animals/km2 whereas that on the Simpson Desert is in the range 0.5–1.0 animals/km2.

   
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