Struck by drought: Oz to cull 10,000 wild camels

Sydney: Snipers took to helicopters in Australia on Wednesday to begin a mass cull of up to 10,000 camels as drought drives big herds of the feral animals to search for water closer to remote towns, endangering indigenous communities.

Local officials in South Australia state said "extremely large" herds have been encroaching on rural communities threatening scarce food and drinking water, damaging infrastructure, and creating a dangerous hazard for drivers.

It comes after Australia experienced its hottest and driest year on record in 2019, with the severe drought causing some towns to run out of water and fuelling deadly bushfires that have devastated the country's southeast.

The five-day cull in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands home to about 2,300 indigenous people in the north-west of South Australia is the first in the state, local media reported.

"These (camel) groups are putting pressure on the remote Aboriginal communities in the APY Lands and the pastoral operations as the camels search for water," the APY Lands executive committee said.

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