Intensive and extensive movements of feral camels in central Australia

Cameron Ryan Wells, Mark Lethbridge

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    3 Citations (Scopus)


    A better understanding of the movement of feral dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in Australia would be useful for planning removal operations (harvest or culling), because the pattern and scale of camel movement relates to the period they reside in a given area, and thus the search effort, timing and frequency of removal operations. From our results, we suspect that the dune direction influences how camels move across central Australia; particularly effects like the north-south longitudinal dune systems in the Simpson Desert, which appeared to elongate camel movement in the same direction as the dunes. We called this movement anisotropy. Research suggests camel movement in Australia is not migratory but partially cyclic, with two distinctive movement patterns. Our study investigated this further by using satellite tracking data from 54 camels in central Australia, recorded between 2007 and 2016. The mean tracking period for each animal was 363.9 days (s.e.m. ¼ 44.1 days). We used a method labelled multi-scale partitioning to test for changes in movement behaviour and partitioned more localised intensive movements within utilisation areas, from larger-scale movement, called ranging. This involved analysing the proximity of movement trajectories to other nearby trajectories of the same animal over time. We also used Dynamic Brownian Bridges Movement Models, which consider the relationship of consecutive locations to determine the areas of utilisation. The mean utilisation area and duration of a camel (n ¼ 658 areas) was found to be 342.6 km2 (s.e.m. ¼ 33.2 km2) over 23.5 days (s.e.m. ¼ 1.6 days), and the mean ranging distance (n ¼ 611 ranging paths) was a 45.1 km (s.e.m. ¼ 2.0 km) path over 3.1 days (s.e.m. ¼ 0.1 days).

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberRJ19054
    Pages (from-to)195-210
    Number of pages16
    JournalRangeland Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2020


    • Anisotropy
    • Management
    • Model
    • Pests
    • Support


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