Reducing feral camel impacts across remote
Australia:
Australian Feral Camel Management Project
21st November 2013, Parlia...
Session One: From Science to Solution
Speakers:
Tom Calma, AO – Chair Ninti One
Glenn Edwards – Northern Territory Governm...
Defining the feral
camel problem
Glenn Edwards
Presentation outline
1. History of camels in Australia
2. Recognition that feral camels are a problem
- Early research and...
1. History of camels in Australia
• First importation 1840, last importation 1907
• Domestic population peaked in 1922, si...
2. Recognition that feral camels are
a problem
Early research
Ecology and behaviour
• Dörges and Heucke (1995,
2003)
Diet,...
Early population survey work
• 1969 McKnight questionnaire survey
• 1980-83 Short et al. (1988) aerial SA, NT, WA
- 43,000...
Camel action plan workshop
Alice Springs April 2005
• Debate over how many camels and whether
there was a problem
• Recomm...
Desert Knowledge CRC research
2006-2008
Aims
• Clarify distribution, abundance, movements and
population dynamics
• Clarif...
Key findings: population dynamics
• Camels occupy 3.3M square km
• Estimate of 953,000 camels in 2008
• 43% Aboriginal lan...
Key findings- perceptions
Pastoral/conservation

Aboriginal

• Conservation- pest,
pastoral- pest and
resource
• 84% of pa...
Key findings- impacts
Positive
• Iconic species
• Tourism
• Historical perspective
• Economic resource
• Woody ‘weed’ cont...
Negative impacts- cultural, social (not costed)

• Road accidents
• Safety
• Disease risk
Negative impacts- economic
• Estimated impact cost of
$7.15M annually for
infrastructure damage and lost
production on pas...
Negative impacts- environmental (not costed)

• Methane
2007- large scale movement of camels onto pastoral
leases and Aboriginal settlements in western deserts
9

2

Damage cost ($/km )

25
8
20

15

10
11
5

74

14

0
0-0.1

0.1-0.2

0.2-0.3

0.3-0.4

>0.4

Density category (camel...
Key findings- management options
• Available/used
– humane destruction (culling)
– commercial harvest
– exclusion (limited...
2008- the problem defined
Camels distributed over very large area (3.3M km2)
Camels very mobile and move over large areas
...
Key findings- management
recommendations
• Manage to long-term target density of 0.1-0.2 camels/km2 at
regional scales to ...
www.nintione.com.au
Glenn Edwards: 'Defining the feral camel problem'. Reducing feral camel impacts across remote Australia: Australian Feral ...
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Glenn Edwards: 'Defining the feral camel problem'. Reducing feral camel impacts across remote Australia: Australian Feral Camel Management Project Session 1 - From science to solutions

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Glenn Edwards: 'Defining the feral camel problem'. Reducing feral camel impacts across remote Australia: Australian Feral Camel Management Project Session 1 - From science to solutions

  1. 1. Reducing feral camel impacts across remote Australia: Australian Feral Camel Management Project 21st November 2013, Parliament House Theatre, Canberra
  2. 2. Session One: From Science to Solution Speakers: Tom Calma, AO – Chair Ninti One Glenn Edwards – Northern Territory Government Quentin Hart – Ninti One, Australian Feral Camel Management Project Roger Smith – Chair Australian Feral Camel Management Project Steering Committee
  3. 3. Defining the feral camel problem Glenn Edwards
  4. 4. Presentation outline 1. History of camels in Australia 2. Recognition that feral camels are a problem - Early research and survey work - Camel action plan workshop - Overview of DKCRC research
  5. 5. 1. History of camels in Australia • First importation 1840, last importation 1907 • Domestic population peaked in 1922, size unknown~20,000 • Establishment of feral camels post 1920 Mob of feral camels, Durham Downs Qld 1966
  6. 6. 2. Recognition that feral camels are a problem Early research Ecology and behaviour • Dörges and Heucke (1995, 2003) Diet, examined impacts on vegetation at different stocking rates • Grigg et al. (1995), Edwards et al. (2001) Movements -
  7. 7. Early population survey work • 1969 McKnight questionnaire survey • 1980-83 Short et al. (1988) aerial SA, NT, WA - 43,000 camels in Australia. Low precision. - WA 50%, NT 27%, SA 23% • 1984, 1993, 2001 aerial NT only 100,000 Number 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 Year 1990 1995 2000 2005
  8. 8. Camel action plan workshop Alice Springs April 2005 • Debate over how many camels and whether there was a problem • Recommended development of integrated national approach to managing feral camels
  9. 9. Desert Knowledge CRC research 2006-2008 Aims • Clarify distribution, abundance, movements and population dynamics • Clarify key stakeholder perceptions • Evaluate impacts • Review the options available for managing these impacts • Make management recommendations
  10. 10. Key findings: population dynamics • Camels occupy 3.3M square km • Estimate of 953,000 camels in 2008 • 43% Aboriginal land, 22% pastoral land, 10% conservation land, 25% crown land • Population doubling every 9 years
  11. 11. Key findings- perceptions Pastoral/conservation Aboriginal • Conservation- pest, pastoral- pest and resource • 84% of pastoral properties with camels engage in some form of management (mostly culling) • Limited commercial harvest • Woody weed control • Culling seen as wasteful but …..concerns over impacts • Many saw camels as a resource = jobs • Camel meat not widely utilised • Little management undertaken (some fencing of waterholes) • Limited commercial harvest
  12. 12. Key findings- impacts Positive • Iconic species • Tourism • Historical perspective • Economic resource • Woody ‘weed’ control Photos courtesy J. Brian 2005
  13. 13. Negative impacts- cultural, social (not costed) • Road accidents • Safety • Disease risk
  14. 14. Negative impacts- economic • Estimated impact cost of $7.15M annually for infrastructure damage and lost production on pastoral land alone
  15. 15. Negative impacts- environmental (not costed) • Methane
  16. 16. 2007- large scale movement of camels onto pastoral leases and Aboriginal settlements in western deserts
  17. 17. 9 2 Damage cost ($/km ) 25 8 20 15 10 11 5 74 14 0 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.2-0.3 0.3-0.4 >0.4 Density category (camels/km2) The relationship between the mean value of infrastructure damage reported by pastoral landholders over the period July 2005-June 2007 and the estimated mean density of feral camels on the property. Note: the figures are sample sizes. Range is standard error.
  18. 18. Key findings- management options • Available/used – humane destruction (culling) – commercial harvest – exclusion (limited application) • Not used, not available or not appropriate – chemical, biological, fertility control
  19. 19. 2008- the problem defined Camels distributed over very large area (3.3M km2) Camels very mobile and move over large areas Camel population increasing Camels have undesirable impacts above density of 0.1-0.2 camels/km2 • Camel density over large proportion of range (~30%) exceeds threshold for undesirable impacts • Land owners/managers perceive a problem exists but views vary on what is best/acceptable management approach • Market failure wrt commercial use • • • •
  20. 20. Key findings- management recommendations • Manage to long-term target density of 0.1-0.2 camels/km2 at regional scales to reduce impacts • Incorporate key assets to allow priority setting • Cross-jurisdictional and collaborative approach to management needed • Zoned approach taking into account density (~imacts), landholder views and aspects of different management approaches • Address issues underpinning market failure
  21. 21. www.nintione.com.au

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