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Stray Cats In China Battle Rodent Plague

08/20/11 02:54 AM ET   AP

BEIJING -- Stray cats rounded up in a remote west China city are being used to catch rodents that have infested surrounding pasture lands.

Some 150 strays – dubbed by Chinese media as the "cat army" – were turned loose on the range lands outside Bole city in May to fight what the government calls a plague of rats. The state-run Xinhua News Agency says that the cats were brought in, along with tons of poisonous rat pellets.

The Bole government said in late June that rat holes had decreased by more than half. The Xinhua report on Friday quoted a Bole official as saying the cats were proving valuable.

Rodents and other pests have grown more troublesome on the vast grasslands as a result of overgrazing and killing off traditional predators like foxes.

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Filed by Joanna Zelman  |  Report Corrections