Traditional Owners take flight to scan for feral camels

Members of the Yalata Aboriginal Community recently joined DEWNR staff in an extensive aerial search for feral camels in the state’s far-west to help inform future management plans.

The team embarking on an aerial search to locate feral camel congregations*

Yalata Aboriginal Community members Alinta Smart and Brenda Peters joined DEWNR Rangers Robert Sleep and Tamahina Cox on a flight to scan the vast Far West area of the Nullabor Plain to identify locations where feral camels congregate.

The four-hour flight took them from Yalata, which is 215 kilometres west of Ceduna, to the Western Australia border, then north of the Indian Pacific railway line up to Watson on the edge of the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands. They successfully identified two feral camel congregation areas.

Ranger Tamahina Cox said Alinta and Brenda both did a great job of spotting animals, with their knowledge of the country proving to be extremely useful.

‘Congregations of feral camels present risks to travellers using the Eyre Highway as well as the roads that link the remote communities,’ she said.

‘They also significantly damage fragile vegetation in the region so it’s important that we monitor their numbers and locations in order to inform our future management plans.’

It was Brenda’s first time in a plane, which made the expedition extra special.

*Senior Pilot Matt Graham, Yalata Aboriginal Community members Alinta Smart and Brenda Peters, Ranger Tamahina Cox and Russell Bryant from the Yalata Community