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Some camels are common
- FAO data – more than 22 million worldwide, per WRI EarthWatch database
- Majority are dromedaries (more than 15 million)
- Most in Somalia (7 million) and Sudan (4 million)
- Ethiopia and Kenya also have substantial numbers
- 700,000 feral animals in Australia are becoming a problem
Some camels are rare
- Wild Bactrian camel
- About 950 individuals (Hare 2005)
- About 600 in China
- About 350 in Mongolia (a decrease from about 650 in 1985)
Wild Bactrian camel (C. ferus):
- Critically Endangered (2008 assessment) (Hare 2008)
- Past assessments
- 2002, 2007: Critically Endangered
- 1996: Endangered
- 1986-1994: Vulnerable
- Not listed (UNEP 2019a, 2019b)
Endangered Species Act
Threats to Survival
- In Mongolia, 25 to 30 Wild Bactrian Camels are being killed annually when they migrate across the international border into China (subsistence/sport hunting by locals).
- In China in the new Arjin Shan Lop Nur Nature Sanctuary, up to 20 Wild Bactrian Camels are killed annually by miners and hunters for subsistence use.
- Wolves are their principal non-human predator.
- Drought has reduced number of oases, making wolves more successful predators.
- For 45 years, this area of the Gashun Gobi was the nuclear test site area of China.
- Wild Bactrian Camel survived and is apparently breeding naturally.
- Other threats
- Highly toxic illegal mining
- Habitat used for gas pipe line
- Domestic Bactrian camels and goats have also been introduced to the designated areas and hence compete for grazing and water.
- Species could be wiped out if their natural habitats in China and Mongolia are destroyed.
- Threat of hybridization
- High infant mortality due to harsh conditions.
Fewer than 1,000 wild Bactrian camels remain. They are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Tulgat & Schaller (1992)
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