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Does Saudi Arabia Have a Shortage of Camels?

In 2002, Australia began exporting camels to Saudi Arabia. Camels are especially required during the Muslim pilgrimage in Mecca where an estimated 1.3 million animals, including camels, are sacrificed. Until 2002, most camels in Saudi Arabia were brought in from North Africa. However disease, drought and political strife led the Saudis to eventually turn to Australia, a country that has far too many feral camels.

Camels were first brought to Australia between 1860 and and 1907 from places like Palestine and India. In 2002, there were 500,000 camels live in the Australian outback. As their numbers grew, they had begun to be a nuisance to people, plants, and other wildlife. Therefore, Australia began to supply Middle Eastern countries with camel meat. Saudi Arabia does breed its own camels, but those animals are mainly used for racing and other domestic purposes -- and not for food.

More about Australian camels:

  • After camels were imported to Australia and they were no longer required for riding, the camels were simply released, thus beginning Australia's feral camel population.

  • As of 2013, the economic cost of the damage caused by feral camels in Australia is believed to be 10 million Australian dollars (around 7 million US dollars).

  • Aside from camels, other species introduced to Australia by humans include wild horses, goats, pigs, cats, dogs, foxes and rabbits.

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More Info: BBC News

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