Thousands of Mongolian herders face disastrous livestock losses

More than 42,546 livestock animals have already perished, a figure expected to grow exponentially in coming months.

Mongolia is grappling for the second straight year with a dzud — a dry summer followed by a bitterly cold winter – that threatens tens of thousands of herders.

This in a country where almost half the population depends entirely on livestock for food, transportation and income.

Cattle, sheep and other animals usually die en masse in the dzud, having not built up the fat reserves in the summer necessary to withstand winter temperatures as low as -50C (-58F).

Adequate feed, shelter and veterinarian care does not exist in some remote areas of the country,” said Nordov Bolormaa, secretary-general of the Mongolian Red Cross.

As of early February, more than 42,546 livestock animals had already perished in the current dzud, says the Red Cross, citing official Mongolian figures.

“This figure is expected to grow exponentially in the months ahead,” the Red Cross added.

Dzuds can be incredibly destructive.

Hundreds of thousands of livestock are reported to have died in the last year’s dzud, while a dzud in 2009-2010 – the most severe winter in memory – killed least eight million livestock animals, according to official estimates. Eight million!

Three hugely destructive dzuds in only eight years. Where’s all that global warming we keep hearing about?×378-1487232803.jpg

Thanks to Argiris Diamantis for these links