The Dromedary Camel is found throughout the western Australian region. They are found throughout the deserts of central Australia, the Kimberley region in the state of Western Australia as well as in the north-western areas of the country.
There are no feral camels in Tasmania due to the wrong type of climate. Camels require an arid to semi-arid climate to thrive, where as the Tasmanian climate is far wetter and cooler. Hardly the ideal climate for an animal like the camel!
They adapted extremely well due to the harsh and arid Australian ‘outback’ environment. The Australian outback is not unlike their native homeland of the Middle East. The camels were ideal for the ‘pioneer’ expeditions of exploration and were widely used by the early explorers due to their ability to travel for long periods and great distances without water. Such explorers that utilised these beasts were Burke and Wills, as well as Lasseter who went on to perish in the desert in search of gold.
It is believed that camels from Asia and the Middle East originated in North America. They crossed the land bridge in the last Ice Age and established themselves in Asia and the Middle East. These two species are the Dromedary Camel (one humped), which prefers arid and hot areas, and the other is the Bactrian Camel (two humped), which likes the colder climates such as Mongolia in central-northern Asia.
Other members of the camel family include the Llama, the Alpaca, Vicuña, and the Guanaco. All of these species are found on the South American continent.
Dromedary camels are not as harmful to the environment as other hoofed animals. The camel’s ‘foot-pads’ are softer than any other type of hoof. That leaves the land not suffering as greatly through land degradation.
Camels will eat plants that other animals won’t eat, therefore making the camel more likely to survive in areas where the other animals can’t survive due to the lesser food sources. This is a problem for the rising population of camels in these areas, the plants that they eat may become rare, endangered or even extinct. (Many Australian plant species in arid regions require bushfire in order for their seeds to germinate.)
There was an aerial survey of camels in the Northern Territory in 1993. Individual camels were fitted with radio trackers and the results showed that the camels that were fitted travelled approximately 50 kilometres a day and can journey up to 600 000 square kilometres. Such vast areas that are covered by these animals can only result in more animals breeding if they cover much more land mass. That will only lead to the exhaustion of food and shelter sources for the native animals and the possible loss of some plant species.