• Wed
  • Nov 26, 2014
  • Updated: 9:53am
NewsHong Kong

Hikers asked to file 'missing' cow reports

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 January, 2014, 5:08am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 January, 2014, 4:53pm

Concern groups are enlisting the help of hikers to find and report on cattle moved from their traditional roaming grounds by the government.

The groups claim some of the cattle are struggling to adapt to their new environments after being moved in a bid to reduce nuisance to local residents.

The Friends of Mui Wo Cattle and the Association for Tai O Environment and Development say the animals' health has worsened and want hikers to report to them if they see cattle wandering the countryside.

At the centre of the controversy was the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department's move in November to relocate 29 of the wandering cows and bulls in Sai Kung to Shek Pik, southern Lantau, and 21 of those wandering around on Lantau to High Island, Sai Kung.

Seeman Ho, chairwoman of the Friends of Mui Wo Cattle, criticised the department for failing to consult the group in advance.

"We have been kept in the dark until recently when some of our members learned from friends that some oxen originally on Lantau were seen in Sai Kung," she said.

Ho Pui-han, of the Association for Tai O Environment and Development, said the department was, in effect, torturing the animals.

"Those sent to High Island do not have enough grass to eat. And there are no trees for the cows to shelter under during bright, hot days," she said.

The groups urged the department to move the cows back to their original homes.

A department spokesman said yesterday that the exercise aimed to prevent disruption to traffic and nuisance to local residents from the presence of so many roaming cattle.

The department numbered each of the animals so it could trace where they went and check their health.

Feral cattle have been a point of contention among residents for years. They are regarded by some as a nuisance and by others as a part of the community.

There are thought to be about 1,200 feral cattle on Lantau and in the New Territories.

Last June, eight were killed in a hit-and-run on Lantau.


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Sai Kung Buffalo Watch (SKBW) and AFCD have worked together for the last 5 years to enable a small herd of cattle remain local to Sai Kung town and to monitor all cattle in the Sai Kung region. To date, a large number of cattle have been desexed, tagged, GPS collared and relocated to the SK country park. However, some have wandered back to SK town, seeing a number of them mowed down on Tai Mong Tsai road.
As of yesterday, most of the Lantau cattle relocated, were found. Eating and sunbathing. Pictures can be located on SKBW's facebook page.
"Those sent to High Island do not have enough grass to eat. And there are no trees for the cows to shelter under during bright, hot days," she said. - This is incorrect. There are plenty of trees all over the field that the cattle regularly shelter under. There is also sufficient fodder for them to eat and SKBW/AFCD have been monitoring the area for years. The cattle are not starving.
Yesterday, SKBW also noted that some individuals trying to pat, interact with, hug and feed the cattle. Due to an irresponsible individual promoting this behaviour, SKBW implore the public to leave the cattle be. They are wild animals. Enjoy them from a distance.
This is a TRIAL relocation, considering the development of both SK and Lantau. Desexing is a long term management plan. Discussions are continuing to get cattle grids in place. Requests have also been made for better speed control measures. AFCD have gone above and beyond for our SK Cattle
This was not an AFCD initiative but it eventuially agreed to relocate cattle from Sai Kung's roads where they were getting massacred by speeding motorists to the country park. However, despite repeated requests over 3 years, they have failed to install a cattle grid and pedestrian gates at the Pak Tam Chung barrier, hence the "escapes". This cross re-location of Sai Kung and Lantau cattle is news to me and, quite obviously, local concern groups and volunteers should have been consulted; but were they?


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