Chinese eagles hunt down rogue rodents

China is using eagles to hunt down giant gerbils which have damaged an area of grassland larger than Switzerland.

    Rodents have wreaked havoc in China's western provinces

    The China Daily said on Tuesday that burrowing by great gerbils

    and other rodents has damaged 4.76 million

    hectares of grassland in the country's far west.

    "It has been the most severe rodent disaster since 1993,"

    Xiong Ling, an official with the region's headquarters for

    controlling locusts and rodents, said.

    To combat the onslaught, the government is using poison

    and raising eagles to eat the gerbils, which are now reaching the peak

    of their reproductive cycle.

    Bubonic plague

    As many as

    790 burrow holes have been found per hectare in some areas.

    Great gerbils, found in many parts of Central Asia, can

    grow up to 40cm from head to tail

    .

    In addition to being an agricultural pest, the gerbils are

    known to carry bubonic plague.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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