DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh plans to vaccinate stray dogs instead of culling them in a bid to prevent rabies that annually kills some 2,000 people in the country.

The government has teamed up with a global group – World Society for the Protection of Animals, or WSPA – to begin vaccinating in Cox’s Bazar town.

Health Ministry official Be-Nazir Ahmed told The Associated Press Thursday “we want to eliminate rabies but without the need to cull dogs.”

In a statement, WSPA said its Cox’s Bazar campaign would “save thousands of dogs in its first year alone and pave the way for a nationwide vaccination campaign.”

Cox’s Bazar, a southern beach resort, was chosen because tourists regularly fall victim to stray dogs. Authorities record up to 300,000 dog bites annually in Bangladesh.

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