LBA was deeply concerned to hear of the terrible incident on Silvermine Beach, Mui Wo Saturday night, March 26, when a member of the public was seriously injured by a male water buffalo. Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and his family for a speedy recovery. We would also like to express gratitude to Mui Wo resident Paul Melsom for his courageous intervention with vital First Aid.
It is highly unusual for water buffalo to attack humans and we are trying to find out what may have caused this individual buffalo to behave this way. We are investigating urgently and talking to vets, SPCA, AFCD and the police.
Since the mass cull of the Mui Wo buffalo herd in early 2007, a small group of just four or five male buffalo has survived in the Mui Wo area. There are no females, therefore no breeding has taken place. This means that there is no normal herd social structure. Nevertheless, there is no history of aggression in this group up to now, though it is reported that a new male has joined recently, which may have disrupted any emerging hierarchy.
Major drainage works and other construction activity in the area have also greatly disturbed their habitat in the last couple of years, causing them to roam far away from the inner wetland areas.
Mui Wo beach has been very busy with visitors recently, more and more of whom reportedly like to engage the animals.However, repeated attention from large numbers of people may cause them to panic. Another theory is that the animal in question may have been alarmed by a flash from a camera in the twilight. Further, the engineering works on the beach have reduced the open space by about 50%, making it a very crowded area. We would be grateful for additional information from anyone who witnessed the incident and can shed any further light on what happened.
LBA is currently undertaking a herd management programme in conjunction with SPCA and AFCD, desexing male bovines across Lantau, to humanely reduce breeding and testosterone, with the aim of reducing minimising potential for bovine/human conflict. All male cattle in Mui Wo for example have been desexed.
WE WILL NOW FOCUS ON THIS GROUP OF WATER BUFFALO IN MUI WO AND INTIATE AN URGENT PLAN OF ACTION.
LBA WILL ALSO PUT UP WARNING NOTICES FOR VISITORS.
PLEASE ALSO WARN OFF ANY VISITORS SEEN APPROACHING ANIMALS. HOWEVER WELL MEANING, THEY RISK SPOOKING THEM.
PLEASE TAKE GREAT CARE AROUND THE BUFFALO AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO LIKEWISE.
Lantau Buffalo Association