I hope the authorities will allow the Lantau Buffalo Association a chance to do a thorough investigation as to why the buffalo charged first rather than cull all the animals as a "preventive measure".
From The Standard
'Spooked' buffalo gores beachgoer
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
A young bull buffalo that gored and tossed a man visiting Mui Wo on Lantau Island may have been spooked by people trying to hitch a ride.
The man, named Li, left hospital yesterday after being admitted on Saturday with leg injuries.
Eyewitness Paul Melsom said the man had not provoked the animal.
But the water buffalo covered at least 30 meters of Silvermine Beach in charging at Li and his three-year-old daughter near the Wang Tang River at 7pm on Saturday.
Li, in his 40s, was gored in a leg and then hurled into the air and "tossed about like a toy," Melsom said.
"It was something you might see in a bullfighting arena. The man couldn't move. He was in a lot of pain and bleeding heavily from a deep gash in a thigh."
A Lantau police officer said Li was conscious after the attack, while his daughter was unhurt.
He was taken to a clinic in Mui Wo and then transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung.
Witnesses called an Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department hotline to offer details of the attack. Ho Loy, director of the Lantau Buffalo Association, said it is highly unusual for water buffalo to attack people unless they are provoked.
"The attack might be associated with the repeated spooking of a pair of male buffalo aged about three years by groups of visitors earlier in the day," she said, drawing on accounts of people in the area.
"In particular, an unidentified individual was seen trying to climb on the back of a young bull.
"Buffalo of such age are active and sensitive to their surroundings because they are approaching full maturity."
Ho also linked the attack to development. Recent construction has reduced the beach area by half, she said.
This comes even as construction projects disturb Lantau's natural habitat, forcing buffalo from inner wetland areas to busy beaches.
Attempting to guard against more incidents involving the two young bulls that were on Silvermine Beach on Saturday, the association has arranged for a vet to castrate them this morning.
The association notes that the young bulls are among six stray buffalo around Mui Wo. All are the offspring of working animals abandoned by farmers in past decades.
Mui Wo Rural Committee vice chairman Cheung Chee-hung worries there will be more attacks.
He wants authorities to relocate the beasts. "Local residents are already fed up with the nuisance they cause - their excrement and problems for traffic when they stray on highways."
An AFCD spokesman said officers visited the scene and found four stray buffalo around the scene of the attack.
They could be rounded up if they appear to be a nuisance, he said.
There are around 200 buffalo in rural areas of Hong Kong, with about 70 percent on Lantau.