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Nearly 1,000 Wildlife Perish in Freezing NW China

Nearly 1,000 Mongolian gazelles, blue sheep and wild donkeys have perished in the extreme cold during the mid-January to early March period at the source of the Yellow River, an official in China's northwest Qinghai Province said on Wednesday.

Wan Majia, deputy head of the Maduo County, Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, said unusual heavy snow had hit his county, and killed nearly 1,000 wildlife, mostly grass-eating animals.

He explained the extremely low temperatures of minus 37 degrees Celsius and an inadequate grass supply had caused the deaths.

Wildlife tend to search for food in mornings and evenings. Over the past 40 days, most grasslands have been covered by five-centimeter thick snow and ice.

Wan expressed his concern that more gazelles, blue sheep and wild donkeys could suffer a similar fate if more snow comes.

The local weather station forecast that such cold weather will continue in the coming days.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2008)

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