Sunday, October 3, 2010
Walk to Pui O. The buffaloes are everywhere and are especially plentiful around Shap Long, where there are wide open plains for them to graze.
They look quite intimidating to city dwellers like us (those horns look lethal) but they're harmless. We walked past this bullock and it didn't even blink.
I was wondering why you see them mainly around Pui O and Shap Long. Then I found out from Hong Kong Outdoors (www.hkoutdoors.com) that they used to be very popular in Pui O as four-legged tractors for rice cultivation.
They're really restful to watch as they graze on the grass and most Lantau folks have a soft spot for them. Each spring, you see a few cute brown calves following their mothers on shaky legs and trying to suckle. They definitely give the place character.
Sadly, the government doesn't seem to like them very much and the buffaloes get killed ("culled" in political legalese) every so often to keep the population down. Some get into accidents crossing the South Lantau Road, which is very close to their favourite stomping ground.
Then there are the townies (the ones who scream if a chihuahua so much as sniffs their toes) who call up to complain about the buffaloes munching on precious plants. As if buffaloes can tell the difference between common grass and some exotic carpet variety.
Poor water buffaloes. There are so many obstacles they need to overcome just to survive. No wonder there are only 60-odd left now.