10,000 camels in Australia may be culled as they compete for water with indigenous people

Melbourne, Jan 8 (PTI) About 10,000 camels are at risk of being shot and killed in a drought-ravaged region of Australia, after complaints that the thirsty animals are endangering local indigenous people as they desperately search for water.

The slaughter will take place in the area of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) - a sparsely-populated part of South Australia which is home to a number of indigenous groups.

The cull will see be carried out by professional shooters in helicopters with Seven News reporting that 10,000 camels are at risk.

'There is extreme pressure on remote Aboirignal communities in the APY lands and their pastoral [livestock] operations as the camels search for water,' APY's general manager Richard King said in a statement.

'Given ongoing dry conditions and the large camel congregations threatening all of the main APY communities and infrastructure, immediate camel control is needed,' he said.

Camels aren't native to Australia - they were brought over by British settlers from India, Afghanistan and the Middle East in the 19th century.

Estimates of numbers of camels vary but there are thought to be hundreds of thousands of them across the central parts of the country.

They can damage fences, farm equipment and settlements, and also drink water which is needed by people who live there.

They also emit methane, a greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.

Almost 2,000 homes have been destroyed in Australia's months-long bushfire crisis. At least 25 people have died since September.

The eastern and southern sides of the country have been the worst-affected - and many animals have also been killed in the fires. PTI AKJ