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China Enlists Nature to Fight Rat Plague September 14, 2007
Photo of Xinjiang rat holes
More than 1,000 rat holes per acre dot some pastures in western China's Xinjiang region.
Chinese officials say their efforts to battle a rampant rodent plague in the country’s Xinjiang region by introducing natural predators have proven to be successful.

More than a thousand eagle nests and stands were erected, and 200 foxes bred in captivity were released to feed on the rats as the main focus of the project.

The country’s official Xinhua news agency reports that more than 5.4 million acres of pasture have been ravaged by the rodents, causing a food shortage for livestock.

The number of rodent holes has dropped by 70 percent since the foxes were released, Xinhua says.

The new method of rat control was introduced after poison failed to effectively reduce the pest population, and killed the rodent’s natural enemies.

Photo: Xinhua