The Agriculture Ministry has said 232 camels died in the space of four days in the Dawasir Valley.
The deaths are a major concern in the lower-income levels of Saudi society, where camel herding represents a major source of income.
The Agriculture Ministry denied an infectious disease caused the deaths; they believe the deaths were caused by some type of toxic fungi.
“Our investigations indicate that the camels died after ingesting some kind of fungus or fungi, which are toxic,” said Dr. Mohammad Al-Saif, an official of the Department of Animal Research at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The deaths followed a change in feed as the traditional barley became too expensive and new substitutes were found. Some reports suggest that the toxin could have been aflatoxin, a mold that grows on certain cereal grains and peanuts.
King Abdullah has ordered financial compensation to the owners of the camel that died as a result of eating toxic materials.