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Stray mastiffs pose a threat to residents and wildlife

BEIJING: The market value of Tibetan mastiffs (pic), a breed known for its loyalty and bravery, was once high, leading them to be bred on a major scale in Qinghai province and the Tibet autonomous region.
But a subsequent collapse in the market led owners to abandon their dogs, which are also well known for their big appetites.
The breed, which is vulnerable to a fatal parasitic disease called echinococcosis or hydatid disease, is putting the health of residents at risk as well as the survival of some species on the plateau.
People can easily be infected by drinking contaminated water or through contact with infected dogs and other animals, said Zou Bin, a disease prevention worker in Shiqu county, Sichuan province, one of the areas worst hit.
Liu Mingyu, a doctoral candidate at Peking University who has studied how stray dogs have affected the ecosystem in Tibet since 2015, said if the dogs were in packs, they sometimes hunted wild animals such as bears, blue sheep and snow leopards.
According to ynet.com, there are now more than 600 abandoned Tibetan mastiffs at a shelter in Nangqian county, Qinghai.
Yin Hang of the Gangri Neichog Research and Conservation Centre, said the blind pursuit of financial gain was mainly to be blamed. Dog worship among Tibetans was also a contributing factor.
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