More than 10,000 camels will be shot from helicopters to prevent them from drinking too much water in drought-afflicted South Australia.
Professional shooters will begin the cull on Wednesday following an order from Aboriginal leaders in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands.
Locals have complained the animals have been entering communities and wreaking havoc as they look for any available water source, including taps and tanks.
“We have been stuck in stinking hot and uncomfortable conditions, feeling unwell, because the camels are coming in and knocking down fences, getting in around the houses and trying to get to water through air-conditioners,’’ Marita Baker, board member of the APY executive, told The Australian.
The animals are also being culled over concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, as the animals emit methane equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide per year, the paper reported.
The operation to control the population, estimated to total 1.2 million across the country, is expected to take five days.
Their carcasses will be left to dry off before they are burned or buried, ABC News reported.
Camels were introduced to Australia from India and Afghanistan during the 19th century and used for transport and construction.
If the culling did not take place their population would double every eight to 10 years.