Outraged Somalis are urging Australians to stop culling camels, and to instead send the animals to the Horn of Africa so that they can look after them.
Snipers have been shooting camels in South Australia from the air since Wednesday following concerns that extreme heat and drought were forcing the animals to encroach on human settlements in search of water.
Thousands are expected to be killed. Somalis have a deep love for camels, which they call “geel”.
They measure wealth and status by the number of camels that people own, not the amount of cash they have. They also believe that after the British colonised what is now the self-declared republic of Somaliland in the 19th Century, they seized herds of camels and sent them to Australia, which was also a British colony at the time.
Others say that camels were first taken to Australia by British settlers from India, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Nevertheless, the chairman of the Somaliland Camel Herders Association, Mustafe Cali Deeq, said the animals were “very precious” to Somalis and “second” only to human beings.
He said Australia should spare the lives of the camels by sending them to where they “originally” came from. While others said on Twitter that they could be accommodated in the whole of Mena, an acronym for the Middle East and Africa.
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