Mongolian herders lose thousands of livestock due to harsh winter

A total of about 150,000 livestock have died in remote mountainous areas of Mongolia due to food shortage caused by recent heavy snowfall, Mongolian authorities said on Saturday.
It has been a rough winter following an extremely dry summer, which is a type of weather pattern unique to the land-locked country and is called as "Zud." The last "Zud" hit Mongolia in early 2010, killing more than 9 million heads of animals.
The drought of last summer meant that cattle had less to graze on, failing to fatten up sufficiently before winter. Heavy snowfall in late February made it harder for animals to find and eat grass underneath snow covering.
The Mongolian Red Cross Society has launched an appeal for assistance of needed materials to herders in remote provinces, but it has been not that effective.
Temperatures dipped as low as minus 37 degrees Celsius in March. Weather forecast said temperatures would rise soon in the coming days.
Animal husbandry is of great importance for the Asian nation, which has a population of about 3 million.
Figures from Mongolia's National Statistics Office showed that there were around 56 million heads of animals in the country by the end of last year. End



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