With Hong Kong already in the throes of a full-on boar-pocalypse, a parallel wild cattle-tastrophe is taking shape on Lantau Island, with feral cows laying siege to a local grocery store just days after raiding its produce section.
On Sunday, Dr Leung Siu-fai, director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, had sought to allay Hongkongers’ fears (which Coconuts Hong Kong remains firmly committed to mongering) by telling “On the Record” that a case last week of wild cows entering a supermarket and munching on its produce was likely a one-off. However, no sooner was the fateful udder-ance broadcast, than two wild cows were filmed menacing the very same store on Lantau on Sunday evening.
Leung had said that stray wild cattle seldom enter residential buildings or supermarkets, and that instances of feral cattle wandering the streets were unlikely to worsen because of the government’s “Capture-Sterilisation-Relocation” program, whereby stray wild cows are captured, surgically sterilized, ear-tagged, and relocated to a country park.
“We’ve already neutered more than 500 [wild cows],” he said “In the longer term, their numbers will stabilize, or even fall.”
But in a video published by Apple Daily, two wild cows can be seen approaching the supermarket on Sunday evening, only to be thwarted by members of staff, who held the doors shut and pulled down the metal shutters. The incident followed hot on the hooves of Thursday’s bovine produce rampage.
According to the AFCD’s website, there are about 1,100 wild cows and 120 wild buffaloes in Hong Kong’s country parks. Most of these wild cattle and buffaloes are distributed across Lantau Island, Sai Kung, Ma On Shan, and central and northeastern parts of the New Territories.
The brazen cow incursions come as Hong Kong continues to grapple with its long-running wild boar insurgence, which Leung admitted on Sunday was worsening.
Last year was on track to have the largest number of recorded boar sightings since the government started compiling the numbers in 2013. And although Leung didn’t confirm the exact number of boar-related complaints last year, he did say that of the more than 700 the AFCD received, 40 per cent concerned humans feeding boars, and 35 per cent concerned boars foraging in rubbish bins.
Hong Kong’s Wildlife Protection Ordinance prohibits feeding wild boars, but the law only covers four of the city’s country parks.
Leung told “On the Record” that those who feed wild boars outside these areas could still be prosecuted under Hong Kong’s littering laws, which carry a HK$500 (about US$64) fine or three months behind bars.
Leung also said that the AFCD were exploring other options to curb wild boar nuisance, including increasing the number of people working on the wild boar contraception scheme from six to 18, and working with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to install security cameras at more than 30 so-called “feeding black spots” in order to catch people who are feeding wild boars.
But until the animal menace is contained, stay tuned to Coconuts Hong Kong, the local news leader in wildlife-related hysterics.