Local officials are saying that global warming is to blame for an early "baby boom" of rats in northwest China's Xinjiang region.
Animal husbandry officials are saying that global warming has caused the rats to reproduce faster and as a result, they are plaguing the pasturelands in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
According to the regional meteorological bureau, last winter the average temperatures in Xinjiang, China were two to four degrees Celsius higher than normal. Also, the snowfall in the remote mountains in Altay was at least 32 centimeters less this winter than last. The after effect of the warm winter was what officials are calling a "baby boom" of rats in April, a month earlier than normal.
It is being reported that the rats are threatening two million hectares of pastureland in Altay. That represents about 20 percent of the total arable hectares in northern Xinjiang province, and officials say that the rats could cause epidemics among the locals, .
Because of the large number of rats and the large percentage of land they are threatening, the animal husbandry bureau says that they have been "forced to send two helicopters to spray 20 tons of raticide in the worst-plagued areas over the past week to reduce the damage". Hmm, raticide?
Officials are saying that they are being extra careful with the raticide, which is known to pollute the environment and could poison the foxes and eagles that usually feed the rats.
This appears to be a case of trying to fix a problem and creating a potentially bigger one.