Death By Camelby Liz Vercueil / 03.02.2010
It’s hard to feel sorry for Australians at the best of times, but this is ridiculous. Imagine it’s another blazing hot, dusty and parched day – as they tend to be in Alice Springs in Australia’s Outback – and you’re standing in your kitchen, knocking back a cold one. You hear a strange sound. You look out beyond the corks hanging from your hat. The inhuman grunting and snorting draws nearer and suddenly you hear the loud crash of glass as the ragged, stinking beast’s head penetrates your peaceful domestic haven.
Australians in the Outback are being attacked by, and I quote, “marauding herds of feral camels”. We’re not talking loose collectives of domesticated, foreign beasts of burden that hang together because no-one else speaks Middle Eastern camel. Hell no. These are gangs, up to a hundred strong of angry, wild and very, very thirsty camels who’s ancestors undoubtedly left them a solid slathering of survival-of-the-fittest DNA.
It is estimated that there are currently a million feral camels loose in the Outback. Yes, that’s right. A million. They were introduced back in the day to be used as beasts of burden by farmers in the Outback, like donkeys, and were mostly used to transport goods from the desert to the harbours. Just as they are used in the Sahara and the Middle East. But, camels, obviously, are pretty good at adapting to harsh desert climes. They thrived. And soon enough they outbred their usefulness and took over. Massive destruction of the indigenous fauna and flora ensued.
So, back to your impending death by camel… what would you do if a horde of humped beasts attacked you. Remember, you’re the soft, pink underbelly of the animal world and you’re the only thing standing between said horde and water, the one thing even snails are prepared to kill for. I, for one, would waste the motherfuckers. In a battle for water I’m coming out tops, if possible. Although camel is, despite efforts to promote this, less popular than kangaroo on Australian menus.
Of course, if you live in the Outback you may end up ingesting camel unintentionally. Just before you die from some kind of vile poisoning due to a rotting camel carcass stinking up the only water source in a hundred square miles. Much of Australia has been hit by the worst drought in recorded history, which is at its most acute in the vast hinterland of the Outback. These alien camels are dying of thirst by the truckload. And they have a knack of dying just as they find water. How poetic.
You’d think that all of this fatal dehydration would dent the numbers, but you’d be so, so wrong. Australia’s camel population doubles every seven years. Think about that for a second… a million fucking camels. And then two, and then four. You’d think that the Australians would start culling the poor, dumb, thirsty beasts from helicopters and stop anyone from importing them. But according to estimates Australians import another 25 000 of the beasts from the Middle East every year. Not so wild and feral, these ones. Until they meet their compadres, of course. Then it’s camel madness, a tussle for natural resources and the inevitable culling from helicopters. And the ensuing global condemnation brought on by the slaughter.
Alien invasion. It’s closer than you think. Maybe you should sell your Brazilian anaconda. I’m just saying.