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Helicopter snipers cull 10,000 camels as they hunt water

UP TO 10,000 camels are to be shot in Australia following rampages by the animals desperate for water amid the country’s wildfires.

Snipers in helicopters began the cull in South Australia yesterday after officials said heat-crazed camels were damaging towns and farms in their search for water sources.

Australia has about 1million feral camels — the world’s largest wild population — after they were introduced by colonialists in the 1840s.

They are officially classed as pests and regularly culled but the devastating fires and drought have aggravated the issue.

‘Thousands of camels are flocking to tanks, taps and any available water,’ the Department for Environment and Water said.

‘This has resulted in significant damage to infrastructure, danger to families and communities and increased grazing pressure.

‘Some camels die of thirst or trample each other to access water.’

Safe at last: Evacuees from the cut-off coastal town of Mallacoota are brought ashore by landing craft at Hastings, Victoria PICTURE: EPA

Animal campaigners said the cull was not a ‘legitimate response’ to the crisis, which many blame on government inaction over climate change.

One estimate from the University of Sydney has claimed 1billion creatures are likely to have died in the bush fires.