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Camel burgers: Australia plans to shoot 650,000 camels

Here’s a potentially tasty solution to Australia’s invasive species: Eat them.  

The Australian government plans to fly in marksmen on helicopters to shoot 650,000 camels and turn them into burgers and other meaty treats, reports the Associated Press.  

In the 1840s, explorers first brought camels of all sorts to Australia from India and the Middle East. Today, there are more than 1 million one- and two-humped animals in Australia and their population has been doubling every nine years. In a land where vegetation is already scarce, camels are competing with native fauna and livestock. They also, apparently, are fond of breaking water pipes and bathrooms in their quest for hydration.  

Last month, the government ponied up $16 million to cull the camels, which rank as Australia’s largest invasive species. The country has had no luck fighting smaller critters like rabbits and cane toads, despite massive biocontrol programs and volunteer efforts.  

Animal rights groups are upset about the proposal, but Tony Peacock of the University of Canberra's Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center brushed off their concerns.  

"To be shot from a helicopter is actually quite humane, even though that sounds brutal,” he told the Associated Press. “If I was a camel, I'd prefer to just get it in the head."

Image of camel courtesy Paleontour via Flickr

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