feral camels by andreakw
photo by andreakw

I learned on Twitter today that there are about 25,000 wild camels in the Australian outback, one of the more interesting invasive species to plague Australia.

Australia is not the only country coping with feral camels. While I was writing my term paper I returned to AUDC's great Blue Monday and the story of the US Army's failed Camel Military Corps.

Instead of serving the Confederacy, in 1863 the Camel Corps was sold off at auction. Most would wind up in private hands, but some would be released into the desert where they became feral. Hadji Ali, now known as “Hi Jolly” remained behind although whether this was to pursue the American dream or simply because he was marooned far from home is unclear. After a time running a camel-borne freight business, Hi Jolly, who was actually half-Greek and also known by the name Philip Tedro, married a Tucson woman and moved to the west Arizona town of Tyson’s Wells, nine miles west of Quartzsite, Arizona, where he worked as a miner until he died in 1902, reportedly expiring with his arm around one of his camels during a sandstorm. In memory of his service, the government of Arizona built a small pyramid topped by a metal camel on his gravesite in the 1930s. Feral camels would be seen roaming the desert until the early 1900s.

AuthorChris Hamby