Flying over the Simpson Desert’s dunes in the passenger seat of Mark Lithgow’s 4WD he spoke about the tasks of running two Bush Heritage properties. As the Reserve Manager of Cravens Peak and Ethabuka Mark’s responsibilities are wide ranging. One of his tasks is to cull camels.
An interview package expanding on his and his partner, Nella’s, reflections will be posted shortly but in the meantime, the article below outlines the problems of camels for both Reserve Managers, such as Mark, and pastoralists.
Camel plague only getting worse: cattlewoman Camel invasion: pastoralists are angry about a lack of action
28 November 2009
(c) 2009 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
A Northern Territory cattlewoman has launched a call to arms to curb the nation’s feral camel plague.
Tracey Hayes says the Australian rangelands is basically a camels’ paradise.
“They are yet to reach their critical mass; the longer we leave it, the bigger that task is going to be to tackle,” she said.
Her property’s grazing manager has shot more than 2,000 camels within the last 18 months on land leased from traditional owners at Haasts Bluff, 250 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.
The Federal Government has released a draft national action plan for public comment until the end of January.
Ms Hayes says is it a relief to finally see the new plan but there is anger in the bush over the Government’s lack of action and preference for delayed consultation.
“What concerns me is this is just another avenue for dialogue, another avenue for discussion and perhaps another avenue for debate,” she said.
“We have been reading this and hearing this and seeing this over a number of years now and it is quite frustrating.
“What we would like to see is some action, substantiative action and some immediate action.
“It is too late now for more discussion; it is time to move on this problem. You keep on talking, they keep on populating.”
The Northern Territory branch of the Sporting Shooters Association has welcomed the release of the draft camel action plan.
State coordinator Phil Duffield says action is needed to bring plague numbers back to manageable levels.
The association says aerial shooting is the most effective and humane way to swiftly reduce camel numbers.
Mr Duffield says the proposed reduction in numbers will only have long-term benefits if ongoing control programs are introduced and funded to prevent the numbers increasing.
He says land managers will have to take responsibility for ongoing control once the proposed program is completed.