Did Australias camels come from Africa?
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Since the colonization of Australia by the Europeans, a total of 20 species of mammals and 16 species of birds have become extinct. Another 15 bird species and 38 mammal species are either endangered or threatened with extinction. The reason for this development lies in the increasing destruction of the natural habitat and also the introduction of alien species that compete with the native species for food, destroy their habitat or hunt native animals. The introduction of rabbits, foxes, feral cats, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, horses, camels and African water buffalo in particular had an extremely damaging effect on the natural flora and fauna.
The most extensive destruction was probably caused by the European one Rabbits which came to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788. The momentous relocation of these animals, however, is dated to the year 1859, in which Thomas Austin brought 24 wild rabbits to Australia for hunting and released them on his property near Geelong in Victoria. Under the ideal conditions of the Australian wilderness, in which only a few natural enemies of the rabbit lived, the animals reproduced incredibly quickly and soon became a nuisance. In the early 20th century, the total number of rabbits was estimated at around 500 million. To combat the rabbit population, the myxomatosis virus was introduced in 1951, which causes death in rabbits. This type of pest control remained effective for about 20 years, but then the animals became immune to the virus and recovered in numbers to the estimated 300 million rabbits in Australia today. Apart from the destruction of the flora of large areas of land and thus also the natural habitat of native animal species, the rabbits also indirectly cause soil erosion and cause considerable damage to pastures and crops.
Camels and Horses have made a name for themselves in the development of the country. After their release, they have reproduced rapidly in the wild. Meanwhile, large herds of wild horses (brumbies) and camels roam the steppes of the country. Between 1840 and 1907 around 20,000 camels were imported into Australia as workhorses. According to a study by the national park administration, there are between 600,000 and 750,000 camels in Australia today. It is predicted that the population will double every eight years. Camels are considered harmful to the sensitive Australian ecosystem because of overgrazing and waterhole pollution. Camel races are held annually in Alice Springs. For the adventurous tourist, camel tours into the outback are offered.
The Northern Territory is also home to a large number of wild animals Water buffalowhich cause considerable damage due to their presence in the sensitive wetlands. Wild goats are a problem in many regions. They eat everything, urinate in water holes (which no other animal does) and through their climbing skills destroy not only sensitive rock vegetation but also Aboriginal drawings in caves and rock overhangs.
foxes and released into the wild Cats are carnivores without natural enemies and pose a serious threat to native animals. To control them, poisoned baits are laid out or distributed by air.
The reproduction of Giant toads (Agas), which were supposed to be used for pest control in the Queensland sugar cane fields, got out of control. They reproduced happily and have spread to large parts of the tropical east.
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