Camels have been used by humans since ancient times. They were even brought to the United States in the mid-1800s as a potential source of transportation across the West, as well as a replacement for beef cattle. Today, if the nomads of the Saharan region continue their traditional way of life, they will need the dromedary camels for milk, wool, and transport.
Bactrian camels, however, are facing a decline in the wild as they are hunted for sport or killed because they compete with domestic camels and livestock for grazing and watering spots. Their habitat is also being taken over by illegal mining operations. There are currently about 600 Bactrian camels in China and about 350 in Mongolia. The Wild Camel Protection Foundation was established in 1997 and has set up a natural reserve in China for wild Bactrian camels.