Scientists: Camel Flatulence Isn’t Contributing to Climate Change

By Penny Starr | May 12, 2014 | 2:16pm EDT

(AP Photo)

( – Environmental scientists have discovered one mammal that is not posing a threat to the planet by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions through flatulence – camels in Australia.

Entitled “Methane Emissions from Camelids,” referring to their biological family, the April 9 article ends speculation that camels are like cattle, sheep, and other animals that are said to be contributing to climate change through flatulence, or the passing of gas resulting from the food digestion process.

“Methane emissions from ruminant livestock have been intensively studied in order to reduce contribution to the greenhouse effect,” the article’s abstract states. “Ruminants were found to produce more enteric methane than other mammalian herbivores.

“As camelids share some features of their digestive anatomy and physiology with ruminants, it has been proposed that they produce similar amounts of methane per unit of body mass,” the abstract states. “This is of special relevance for countrywide greenhouse gas budgets of countries that harbor large populations of camelids like Australia.”

The article expresses good news for Australia and other countries were camelids are found.

(AP Photo)

“Our results suggest that the methane emission of Australia's feral camels corresponds only to 1 to 2% of the methane amount produced by the countries' domestic ruminants and that calculations of greenhouse gas budgets of countries with large camelid populations based on equations developed for ruminants are generally overestimating the actual levels,” the abstract concludes.

The articles conclusion gives camels an almost clean slate when it comes to greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions.

“Methane emission was measured from three camelid species, including, for the first time, Bactrian camels,” the conclusion states. “Our findings indicate that, in absolute values, camelids produce clearly less CH4 than ruminants, and that this difference is most likely due to the generally reduced metabolism, food and (digestible) fiber intake of this group.”

“Therefore, when calculating GHG budgets, equations developed for ruminants are not applicable for the estimation of CH4 emissions from camelids,” the conclusion states.

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