New Delhi: At a time when Australia is witnessing raging bushfires, authorities in the water-hit country have killed over 5,000 camels in a five-day campaign as the animals drank too much water amid the wildfires.

Earlier the plan was to kill 10,000 camels, but latest updates show that the government has sent helicopters to kill up to 5,000 camels in a five-day campaign starting from Wednesday.

The plan from the government to kill the innocent animals comes at a time when the country is ravaged by wildfires since November. The wildfire has so far killed more than a dozen people and caused the displacement or deaths of 480 million animals.

In the five-day campaign, helicopter-borne marksmen killed the camels that were threatening indigenous communities in the drought-stricken country.

Affected by drought and extreme heat, the large herds of the non-native camels had approached the rural communities, threatening scarcity of food and drinking water, and damaging infrastructure.

The killing of the camels happened in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands which is home to about 2,300 indigenous people in South Australia.

The move to kill the camels came as Australia experienced its hottest and driest year on record in 2019 with many towns reportedly running out of the water and fuelling deadly bushfires.

As per updates, the camels were first brought to Australia in the 1840s to aid in the exploration of the continent’s vast interior. Over 20,000 camels were imported from India in the six decades.

It is believed that Australia now has the largest wild camel population in the world with official data suggesting that more than one million camels are roaming around the country’s inland deserts.