I am writing about an important issue that many people seem to ignore – feeding wild animals in Hong Kong.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has promised to step up their fight against people who feed wild boars, cows and other animals. I think this is a good move.
Wild animals have their own survival skills. If humans keep feeding them, the animals will lose their ability to gather food themselves. This will cause serious problems for both the animals and the public.
Wild animals may go to housing estates or country parks looking for food. And they may attack people when they are hungry.
The AFCD should pay attention to places where wild animals often appear, and put up notices to tell people not to feed them.
Feeding wild animals not only harms them, it can become a nuisance and pose environmental hygiene problems. It needs to be stopped – right now.
Haley Wong Hoi-kiu, Pope Paul VI College
Thank you for your thoughtful letter, Haley. People may think they are helping Hong Kong’s urban animals by feeding them, but we may actually do them serious harm if we introduce new food into their diet.
Last year, Billy, a bull who lived on Lantau Island, was found dead. His stomach was full of plastic bags. Billy had been popular with beach-goers, many of whom would feed him. But officials believe this led Billy to associate plastic bags with food, and eat rubbish.
Feeding animals can also put us in danger, too. When wild animals come into regular contact with humans, they start to lose their natural fear of us, and may become aggressive.
I have a very funny, true story to prove it. One day, my friend told me that his mum had been mugged. Shocked, I asked if they had reported it to the police. He then explained that his mum wasn’t mugged by humans, but monkeys. She had been walking home carrying two bags of groceries when she was ambushed by a group of hungry monkeys. Frightened, she dropped the bags and ran, while they helped themselves to everything inside.
As friendly as these animals may seem, they are still wild. The kindest thing we can do is leave them alone.
Charlotte Ames-Ettridge, Sub-editor