A recent article by the ABC reported the appearance of feral camels making their way towards the south-east coast of Western Australia.
Typically rampant in dry regions like Central Australia, these desert-dwellers have moved away from their usual stomping grounds in search for food and water.
Their unusual appearance down south has not been well-received by farmers, noting the damage that the feral camels have already created on their properties.
Concerns are growing in regards to the feral camel diaspora. There are approximately 1 to 1.2 million camels in Australia – making them one of the largest camel populations in the world.
So what needs to be done?
Like any other pest species, it is important that we target these two things: 1) Prevent their population from growing; and 2) Prevent them from branching out into new territory.
How can this be achieved?
There are many methods out there for managing pest species. This includes shooting, baiting, sterilisation, relocation and much more. While these methods might sound like a quick-fix, they require proper strategic planning in order to be effective.
This is where animal tracking comes in.
By tracking the movements of pest species, we are able to better understand how these animals utilise their environment. From identifying where they feed and drink, their breeding grounds, and migratory pathways – animal movement data can ultimately inform us on which tactics will be the most effective in managing pests.
Methods of animal tracking include systems like the one developed by Wildlife Drones. Drones provide unprecedented access to rural and remote locations. They are also great for covering large areas in a short period of time and are relatively inexpensive compared to helicopters and planes. In regards to the camels, drones can track camel populations and can help us to better understand where and why these large herds are moving.