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Is it time to start culling big bad wolf?
By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-28 05:51

To lose their livelihoods or to break the law? That is the question facing herdsmen in China's wild wild west.

There are many recent reports of wolves devouring livestock, and herdsmen are calling for hunting to be reintroduced. [file]
The current situation on the grasslands of western China offers farmers a real dilemma - wolves are taking their livestock, but under China's environmental laws they are a protected species and must not be killed.

But recent reports of "big bad carnivores" devouring livestock have meant the wolves' days as untouchables may be coming to an end.

Last April, a pack of wolves attacked a pasture close to Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, killing 10 sheep belonging to herdsman Bieke.

On a wintry January night in Inner Mongolia, 180 sheep fell victim to wild wolves.

Since January, more than 1,000 domesticated animals are believed to have been killed by the voracious predators in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.

One shocking incident happened on December 21, 2004, when a lone wolf chased a teenager down the street in a county town in Baicheng, Jilin Province in Northeast China. Police came to the rescue and, with approval from their boss, shot it down.

A local official in charge of wild animal protection explained that, under normal circumstances, one should not harm a wolf, but self-defence is justified.
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