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  Rats Damage Huge Swathes of China's Grasslands


May 27, 2010

BEIJING — A plague of rats has gobbled up vast swathes of grasslands in north China, sparking a mass extermination drive amid concerns for herders, state media said Thursday.

The proliferation has left holes across 65,000 kilometres (25,000 square miles) of Inner Mongolia, making it difficult for herders to ride their horses, whose hooves can get caught, the official People's Daily newspaper said.

Authorities have launched a massive extermination drive, with more than 1,000 tonnes of poison dumped over the affected grasslands, an area the size of Sri Lanka, in an effort to control the number of rats.

The population explosion has been caused by a rise in temperature since the start of May, as well as overgrazing, which suits the rodents' natural habitat as they prefer to live in shorter grasses, the report said.

The number of predators, such as foxes, eagles and snakes, has also dropped sharply in the grasslands, due in part to pollution, particularly the large-scale use of pesticides, it added.

Grasslands in Inner Mongolia have long been at risk of desertification due to excessive farming, overgrazing and drought.



From Yeke-juu League to Ordos Municipality: settler colonialism and alter/native urbanization in Inner Mongolia

Close to Eden (Urga): France, Soviet Union, directed by Nikita Mikhilkov

Beyond Great WallsBeyond Great Walls: Environment, Identity, and Development on the Chinese Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

The Mongols at China's EdgeThe Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity

China's Pastoral RegionChina's Pastoral Region: Sheep and Wool, Minority Nationalities, Rangeland Degradation and Sustainable Development

Changing Inner MongoliaChanging Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern ChinaGrasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China: A Report of the Committee on Scholarly Communication With the People's Republic of China

The Ordos Plateau of ChinaThe Ordos Plateau of China: An Endangered Environment (Unu Studies on Critical Environmental Regions)
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