The Lantau Buffalo Association will launch a Hong Kong-wide petition later this month in an attempt to whip up public support for the establishment of a permanent home for the island's wild water buffalo. This comes after the Lands Department last week rejected the association's application for short-term tenancy on 10,000-20,000 sq ft of government land at Pui O to host 15 buffalo rounded up by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Although the date of the launch of the petition has still to be settled, association chairman Marcus Tancock said copies would be available for signing at Body Shop outlets. Mr Tancock owns the Body Shops in Hong Kong and Macau. He said that the petition would remain open for about two weeks or so, after which it would be presented to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. 'We hope to encourage the creation of a buffalo preservation policy,' Mr Tancock said. The department has rounded up 15 buffalo this year after residents complained about them fouling the beach and frightening people. The department promised the buffalo would not be killed before the association found suitable land on which to house them. In turning down the association's application, the Lands Department said: 'The rearing of buffalo would cause the accumulation of animal excreta and affect the environmental hygiene ... and affect the tourism industry of South Lantau.'