The camel can eat and digest anything
The camel hardly avoids eating anything. Very few plants like Calitropis are avoided by camels as they are very poisonous. I have noticed camels eating paper cartons and cardboard. Some camels have metabolic problems (Pica) from eating rubbish including plastics. They have severe salts and mineral hunger. I have found carcasses of camels, the bellies were filled with plastic stones. Plastic is the most hazardous and dangerous.
“Plastics are converted into hard ropes and balls (polybezoars) in the stomach of camels.”
— Dr. Raziq
The hungry camels eating cardboard, A report from Kazakhstan
Extreme heat has dried up pastures in drought-hit Kazakhstan, leading farmers to feed cardboard to cattle and other livestock. The people deliberately offer cardboard, as cardboard is made from cellulose which ruminants can digest. It is not clear how much nutritional value it may have.
Plastic is neither digestible nor healthy
Eating plastic is a very serious camel welfare issue. How we can help in such circumstances? The first and the utmost need is to aware people of the hazardous role of plastics so they don’t through plastic everywhere, especially in the camel grazing areas/deserts.
Secondly, the vets should thoroughly analyze the case, do not put camels on antibiotics and pain killers but should know the reason for sickness. Progressive emaciation and on and off eating are very clear signs of gut blockage or hardware problems. https://arkbiodiv.com/2020/11/22/the-photostory-of-a-years-old-camel-died-of-eating-rubish-in-the-desert/amp/
Here is a video of camels eating cardboard
Plastic pollution is a camel killer phenomenon
In a study in UAE, (2008-2020) 30,000 camels were analyzed in the field or in a laboratory by staff from Dubai’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, about 300 died because of polybezoars – lumps of indigestible material made of plastic. For details, you can click the link of the National newspaper; https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/environment/uae-recycling-hundreds-of-uae-camels-have-died-from-eating-plastic-bags-study-shows-1.1117788
I love the camels and the desert – I clean the desert on a weekly basis
I explore the desert once a week for many years. I collect some rubbish from the desert each week and throw it in the nearby facility of waste bins. Roughly, I collect and properly dispose of some 500 kg of rubbish each year. We must show sympathy and sensitivity to nature at large and the poor camels specifically. https://arkbiodiv.com/2020/09/28/plastic-pollution-is-a-killer-for-camels-in-the-desert/amp/
Eating wood, cardboard, manure, and termite mounds is different from eating plastics, bones, and stones.
In most cases, the plastic is eaten by camels because of involuntary reason, eating something inside the plastic lead to plastic swallowing.
The way forward
I always suggested careful consideration be placed on the role of single-use plastics, their current use, and their eventual elimination from modern societies. I’m very thankful for Abu Dhabi state’s decision to ban the use of single-use plastic gradually. Abu Dhabi has banned single-use plastic bags from Wednesday, June 1, 2022, as part of a wider initiative to help protect the environment and reduce pollution. https://www.timeoutabudhabi.com/news/abu-dhabi-single-use-plastic-ban-rules Now, the malls and stores will not give plastic bags for free. Gradually such hazardous plastic will be banned completely. I appeal all the world to follow the same methodology and save nature.