CAMEL owners in Saudi Arabia have thrown a lifeline to thousands of the wild animals facing a cull in Australia, offering homes to feral camels in response to an internet campaign.
According to the newspaper, Salim al-Hajjaji told English-language Saudi daily Arab News: ''I own more than 80 camels but I am quite willing to receive as many more from Australia.''
Another Saudi camel owner, Khalifa al-Bigaili, said: ''We can buy them cheap or get them for free since Australians do not want them.''
Camels have long been revered in Saudi Arabia and in modern times they continue to be valued for milk, meat and racing.
Australia's Government has committed $19 million to cull feral camels, because they compete with sheep and cattle for food, crush vegetation and invade remote settlements in search of water.
There are about 1 million feral camels throughout Australia, with numbers doubling.
Animal lovers have been outraged by the proposed camel cull.