Thursday, May 15, 2014

Camels Most Endangered Mammals Need Proper Health Care and Protection Too

For the past few weeks, I was reading news articles from both print and digital media - I did not find one article suggesting that camels should also be conveyed with best treatments and cares. They need also medicines, antidotes and vaccines to save them from the deadly MERS virus and bacteria too but instead, all of the reports were focused on people's health and safety. Our planet is full of hundreds animal experts, scientists and other health specialists who can help determine the root cause of the said virus and to save the lives of many camels too by creating and experimenting drugs right to exterminate the deadly viruses and bacteria living on camels.

The Milking Camels
Camels have been once man’s best utility tools and friends. And they also provided man’s foods; man’s milks, yoghurt's and cheese, man’s transportation, man’s guards to scare off other wild horses, man’s vitamins and minerals, man’s bag and shoes, man’s clothing and shelter, man’s jewelry and utensils through their bones; man’s fuels through their feces, man’s medicines through their urines and man’s tourists attraction through camel sport racing competition. Camel is one of eight most endangered large mammal on the planet. It is critically endangered mammal now. And they are also victims of MERS virus. They should also receive proper health care and protection too!

Below are awesome and interesting facts about camels

As recorded in our old and modern history, camels have existed on the planet for thousands of years ago. They are large and strong desert animals. They can travel great distances across hot and dry deserts with or without food and water. They can walk easily on soft sands where trucks and other vehicles would get stuck because they have gaits and widened feet that help them move without sinking into the sand. And camels can carry people and heavy loads to places that have no favorable roads.

Camels carry their own built-in food supply on their back in the form of a hump. The hump is a large lump of fat that provides energy if food and water are hard to find. Camels do not actually store water in their humps as was believed long ago. Camel hump is actually reservoir of fatty tissue. They are body fats in their humps helping camels survive in hot climates. When these fats are metabolized, they yield more than one gram of water for every gram of fat processed.

Two species of ancient camels

There are two surviving species of ancient camels - the dromedary, or one-humped camel, which inhabits the Middle East and Africa; and the bactrian, or two-humped camel which inhabits Central Asia. Both species have been domesticated and they provide milk, meat, hair for textiles or goods such as felted pouches and are working animals with tasks ranging from human transport to bearing loads. But aside from the dromedary and bactrian, there are other four camelids: the llama and alpaca also known as the "New World camels" and the guanaco and vicuña also known as the "South American camels".

The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years. A full-grown adult camel stands 1.85 meter at the shoulder and 2.15 meter at the hump. Camels can run at up to 40 mph in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to 25 mph. The Bactrian camels weigh 300 to 1,000 kg and dromedaries weigh 300 to 600 kg. The male dromedary camel has in its throat an organ called a dulla, a large, inflatable sac he extrudes from his mouth when in rut to assert dominance and attract females. It resembles a long, swollen, pink tongue hanging out of the side of its mouth. Camels mate normally done on sitting position on the ground, with the male mounting from behind. The male ejaculates three or four times within a single mating session.

Bactrian Camel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As of 2010 reports, there are still around 14 million camels alive, with 90% are dromedaries. They are domesticated animals mostly living in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Maghreb, Middle East and South Asia where camels constitute an important part of local life. They provide milk, food, and transportation. While the Bactrian camel is reduced to an estimated 1.4 million animals, most of which are domesticated. And the only truly wild Bactrian camels are less than one thousand and are thought to inhabit the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia. While in Australia there are around 700,000 dromedary camels and this population is growing about 8 percent per year.

Camel meat is eaten worldwide

And until now its meat is still eaten in certain regions, including Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and other regions where alternative forms of protein may be limited or where camel meat has had a long cultural history. And even Camel blood is also consumable, as in northern Kenya, where camel blood is drunk with milk and acts as a key source of iron, vitamin D, salts and minerals.

In Islam, camel meat is halal. However, according to some Islamic schools of thought, a state of impurity is brought on by the consumption of it. Consequently, these schools hold that Muslims must perform ablution before the next time they pray after eating camel meat. Also, some Islamic schools of thought consider it haram for a Muslim to perform prayer in places where camels lie, as it is said to be a dwelling place of Satan. And according to a hadith collected by Bukhari and Muslim, Muhammad (praised be upon him) ordered a certain group of people to drink camel milk and urine as a medicine. However, according to Abū Ḥanīfa, the drinking of camel urine, while not forbidden is disliked in Islam.

Camels used in military combats

Camels were also used in wars throughout Africa and the Middle East. Fighting armies have also used camels as freight animals instead of horses and mules. The camels were used mostly in combat because of their ability to scare off horses at close ranges. Horses are afraid of the Camel's scent, a quality famously employed by the Achaemenid Persians when fighting Lydia in the Battle of Thymbra.

The United States Army established the U.S. Camel Corps, which was stationed in California in the late 19th century. One may still see stables at the Benicia Arsenal in Benicia, California, where nowadays they serve as the Benicia Historical Museum.  France created a méhariste camel corps in 1912 as part of the Armée d'Afriquein the Sahara in order to exercise greater control over the camel-riding Tuareg and Arab insurgents, as previous efforts to defeat them on foot had failed. The camel-mounted units remained in service until the end of French rule over Algeria in 1962.

File:Dromedary at Tierpark Berlin.jpg
Dromedary Camel (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
In 1916, the British created the Imperial Camel Corps. It was originally used to fight the Senussi, but was later used in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in World War I. The Imperial Camel Corps comprised infantrymen mounted on camels for movement across desert, though they dismounted at battle sites and fought on foot. After July 1918, the Corps began to become run down, receiving no new reinforcements, and was formally disbanded in 1919.

In World War I, the British Army also created the Egyptian Camel Transport Corps, which consisted of a group of Egyptian camel drivers and their camels. The Corps supported British war operations in Sinai, Palestine, and Syria by transporting supplies to the troops. The Somali and Camel Corps were created by colonial authorities in British Somali in 1912 but it was disbanded in 1944. Bactrian camels were also used by Romanian forces during World War II in the Caucasian region.

Camel domestication in Genesis is said anachronism

The domesticated camel was mentioned 20 times in Genesis. However, a recent publication by Tel Aviv University - archaeologists Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen suggest that camels were not domesticated in Israel until the end of the 10th century B.C.E. These two archaeologists were doubtful based on their findings using the 9th century bones to generalize when and where camels were domesticated in ancient Israel. So I asked myself: To whom I should believe? To Moses who was believed the author of the first five books of the old testament or to the two archaeologists who were born 40, 50, 60 or 70 years ago?

Health Ministries of affected regions of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona virus and the World Health Organization should also deliver proper health care and protection to camels. Yes. Camels are linked to MERS Corona virus that wiped out many people. But we cannot blame camels. They are also considered victims of this deadly disease. And camels need also the best health care and protection that any governments and health agencies can offer.

References:
  • Holy Bible
  • Holy Quran
  • Wikipedia Encyclopedia
  • Wikimedia Commons
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