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Dzud's Devastating Impact: How Mongolia's Wildlife Struggles in Extreme Winters

A harsh winter in Mongolia, known as a dzud, has caused heavy livestock losses and is also likely harming the country's wildlife. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is particularly concerned about the impact on the Khulan (Asiatic Wild Ass), an animal already classified as "Near Threatened."

The dzud's effects on wildlife are still unclear, but the massive die-off of livestock due to limited food and harsh conditions suggests similar problems for wild animals. The Khulan, dependent on grazing, is especially vulnerable. Habitat fragmentation caused by infrastructure development further restricts their ability to find food during dzuds.

WCS Mongolia emphasizes the need for better data on how wildlife responds to dzuds. This information is crucial for developing conservation strategies, including providing supplemental food and protecting key habitats. The ultimate goal is to create a future where both wildlife and herders can thrive in Mongolia.

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