Elderly woman injured by charging buffalo in Ham Tin
An 82-year-old woman required stitches after being charged by an undesexed buffalo last week, sparking another discussion about buffalo and land management.
The woman, surnamed Wan, was out with her helper near old Ham Tin village at 7am last Saturday when she was struck by the buffalo, “running as fast a horse,” Oriental Daily reported.
She required six stitches in her head and three stitches in each of her hands.
The woman’s son said that whenever he went out he would keep his distance from the buffalo. Other villagers also felt alarmed. Some had complained to the AFCD that the buffalo had destroyed their vegetables and crops.
Jean Leung, the Pui O buffalo carer, said the male buffalo, which she named Bulging Eyes, came from Mung Tung Wan a few months ago.
She had advised the AFCD vets to take him to be desexed “because he was always fighting” with other buffalo, but it was difficult to arrange because he kept moving from place to place.
He has since been captured by AFCD and desexed, she said.
Eddie Tse from the Save Lantau Alliance, told Oriental Daily the increased conflict between humans and bovines was related to land development.
An increasing amount of buffalo habitat in Pui O in being fenced off, while some private landowners have taken advantage of a law that allows them to dump trash on their own plots with government approval.
He said some conservation groups had called for the creation of special ecological zones for buffalo. They had forwarded proposals to the government but so far had had no response.
Carrie Lam vowed to protect the Pui O wetlands, Hong Kong’s last remaining buffalo habitat, when she took office in 2017.
She set up a new unit in CEDD called the Sustainable Lantau Office but it has taken no action to prevent the continued shrinkage and is yet to come up with a long-term plan to ensure the wetlands’ survival.
Photo (top): File photo
Another attempt to smuggle large African tortoises into Lantau
Around 20 young African spurred tortoises were found abandoned in Mui Wo last night – the second local incident involving the species within two weeks.
Ten days ago police found an African spurred tortoise among a haul of items confiscated from smugglers in Tai O. The latest incident appears to also involve an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle the creatures into Hong Kong.
A man reportedly came across the tortoises in a bag in the car park next to the Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road dock at about 6pm and called the police, Oriental Daily reports.
An AFCD spokesperson said 19 tortoises – each about 30 cm in length – were found in several linen bags in the car park and had been brought back to the AFCD’s Animal Management Center in Sheung Shui for temporary care.
The African spurred tortoise is the world’s third largest tortoise, capable of growing to 83 cm. It takes 15 years to reach maturity but live for more than 100 years.
It is listed under the Endangered Species Ordinance, meaning that owners must be able to establish its legal provenance, such as the invoice issued by the store.
They are not endangered but import and export are banned under the CITES treaty and they classified by the UN as vulnerable because of the disappearance of their habitat and their popularity as a pet.
Police are searching for the owner of the bags.
Photo: A young African spurred tortoise (RyanSeiler, Wikimedia)