- Feral camels in Australia
- 300,000 total number
- Australia ()
The largest population of camels in the wild, estimated in 2013 at 300,000 individuals increasing at roughly 10 per cent per year, is found in neither Arabia nor Mongolia, the traditional homelands of genuinely wild camels, but instead in the Australian desert. From the 1840s until the early 1900s, camels were imported into Australia principally for transportation purposes in the country’s hot, arid deserts. As technology advanced, however, the camels were no longer needed as much and, consequently, many were released or escaped into the desert, where they bred and thrived in a feral state.
Camels in Australia are feral, not wild. Feral animals are domesticated animals living in the wild after escaping domestication or captivity.
The only true wild camel as recognized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which controls the Red Book of Endangered Species, is Camelus ferus – the double-humped camel, which separated from any other form of camel over 700,000 years ago. As of 2017, there are only approximately 900–1,000 individuals in the wild in north-west China and south-west Mongolia, and the IUCN lists it as critically endangered.