Mongolian livestock herders affected by climate change sent crucial supplies

Mongolia reported one million livestock like these yaks perished during the 2016 dzud.After two straight devastating dzuds, summer droughts followed by extremely cold winter temperatures, Mongolian livestock herders are struggling to keep their livestock from freezing or starving to death.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) awarded Cambridge Mongolia Development Appeal (CAMDA) a $10,000 emergency grant to provide those herders mineral blocks, vitamins and supplements for their livestock.

Mongolia has experienced a number of dzuds in the past. Historically, they occur every 12 years. Recently, however, these extreme weather events have increased in frequency—striking in 2016 and again in 2017. These back-to-back devastating dzuds threaten the sustainability of traditional herders.

In 2016, Mongolia reported one million livestock perished during the dzud. In the previous dzud, for which IFAW provided relief back in 2009-10, the country lost between eight and nine million livestock.

While the exact cause of a dzud is unknown, the suspicious culprit of these intense storms is changes to the overall climate in Mongolia. Dry summers and heavy snowfall do not allow grasslands to recover in time for the following grazing season. An increase in livestock numbers mean an increased need for grazing lands. In Mongolia, this is evidence of how damaging climate change can be to a country’s culture and livelihood.

IFAW is committed to the welfare of individual animals and their habitats. For us, climate change is an issue which extends across both those issues. Landscapes are essential to the welfare of animals in our world and impact our lives. A recently published report by IFAW, MEASURING WHAT MATTERS: True Wellbeing for Animals and People, presents specific case studies about the intersection of animal and human wellbeing and surveys alternatives which can better measure and protect human wellbeing than the economics-specific Gross National Product measure.

In a letter to the White House, IFAW members asked the President to invest in the future by prioritizing clean energy, rebuilding ecosystems to protect wildlife and people alike from drought, wildfires, and other effects of climate change, and working with other countries to fix the problem at the source.

--SW

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