A lost camel has become the latest of a variety of animals that have needed to be rescued from floodwaters in NSW in the past two months.
- Gina the camel was rescued from floodwaters in southern NSW on Wednesday
- The SES say they have rescued more than 50 animals across the state in two months
- Specialist operaters are trained to carry out animals rescues
Gina the domestic camel was rescued from floodwaters in Moama on the border of NSW and Victoria on Wednesday.
The Murray River at Moama has been forecast to peak at major flood levels of just under 95 metres above sea level, a height the town has not seen in decades.
Alerted by her distressed owner, an in-water rescue team composed of State Emergency Service (SES), Fire and Rescue NSW, Surf Life Saving and Marine Rescue personnel undertook the flood rescue.
“[Camels] can’t swim and Gina was precariously close to the banks,” NSW Fire and Rescue Inspector Phillip Eberle, who is overseeing the operation in Moama, said.
Specialist rescue technicians entered the floodwaters to coax Gina onto higher ground using handfuls of hay.
Inspector Eberle said he had been returned home and was doing well.
He said the rescue teams were prepared for anything, but the camel rescue was “a bit of a surprise”.
NSW SES volunteer Alex Griffith said it was the “most unusual” rescue he had taken part in.
Dozens of animals rescued
The SES said Gina is one of more than 50 animals who have been rescued since the beginning of the current flood event.
“What we’re finding is generally about 20 per cent of our work tends to be around rescuing animals,” Mr Griffith said.
Those numbers do not include domestic animals who are evacuated along with their owners.
In Moama, Mr Eberle estimates around half of the flood operations have included animals.
“Our first rescue on Monday 17 was to help a resident from his flood-affected house and help get his chickens and dogs out … he wouldn’t leave without his chicken and dogs,” he said.
An elderly couple were also evacuated along with their dog at the weekend, and last week a distressed wallaby was rescued from deep floodwaters.
The NSW SES said it has been training flood rescue operators in large animal rescue awareness.
The training involves techniques for interacting with distressed domestic or farm animals, like using hay as bait.
Last week, Moama’s rescue group found themselves rescuing a wallaby in distress while carrying out reconnaissance.
Both SES and Fire and Rescue said those rescues are more unusual, and typically left to the National Parks and Wildlife Services.
“That being said, if our members do come across animals in distress as seen in Moama, they will try to take appropriate action,” Mr Griffith said.