The Country With The Largest Population Of Camels Is?
When you think camels, you likely think exotic Middle Eastern locales, sandy African deserts, or of nomadic tribes with a rich history of camel husbandry. Most likely, you don’t think of Australia. Yet if you’re looking for the world’s largest population of camels, you’ll need to head down under to a country more typically known for coral reefs, koalas, and friendly citizens.
Between 1860 and 1907, approximately 10,000 camels were imported to Australia from India, North Africa, China, and Mongolia. These camels were used as transportation and beasts of burden, as they were much better adapted to life in the arid outback than horses. The camels found Australia agreeable enough and the now feral descendants of that original group of 10,000 imports has swelled to well over 300,000.
The need for camel-based transportation has long since passed and the feral camels have proven themselves to be quite a nuisance. In times of drought (a not infrequent state of affairs in the Outback), the camels will damage water lines, pumps, and well heads in an attempt to access the precious water contained within. Since the early 2000s, Australia has engaged in trade with Middle Eastern countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, to export camels in order to help the countries keep up with the demand for camels and camel meat.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Western Australia.