Newborn animals struggle to survive Mongolia’s deadly dzud
Across the snow-covered steppes of Mongolia, animals are starving and freezing to death in a silent yet devastating natural disaster. Vulnerable mothers and newborns face the highest risk.
This disaster – called a ‘dzud’ – occurs when a harsh winter follows an extreme summer drought. Right now the conditions are especially bad, as this is the second year in a row the dzud has hit.
For animals like the little goat Khar, who belongs to a family of nomadic herders from northern Mongolia, food is scarce and the air so bitterly cold that sometimes their legs seize up and stop working. Their owners rub them with their hands to get the animals’ circulation going and keep them walking.
Khar’s sister Tugal has already succumbed to the extreme cold and lack of food. The goats’ owners, the Chadrabaal family, worry Khar may be next to die – especially as the temperature can drop as low as -40°C during the night.
In spring, new life is first to perish
Already weakened animals are now facing the deadliest months of the year – the spring birthing season.
Families expect animal deaths to peak at this time. Many of those to die will be newborns and their mothers, who die giving birth or in their first moments of life. Adults and children alike work hard to keep the young animals alive, holding the mothers in their arms so the babies can suckle. They know each lamb and kid individually and to lose any is devastating. They are the future of the herd.
Despite everything they do, herders in the worst affected areas may lose dozens of animals at a time.
Delivering urgent relief
With the generous help of our supporters, World Animal Protection is providing emergency nutrition packs to animals worst affected by the dzud. Each pack includes milk power, fish oil, vitamin supplements and mineral blocks – which will give many animals the boost they need to make it through to the warmer months.
As more lambs, kids and calves are born, together we can help families provide the nutrition these animals need.
If you would like to help vulnerable animals survive the worst, please give generously today.