Malnutrition is likely to blame for a recent spate of water buffalo deaths on Yangmingshan (陽明山), the Taipei Animal Protection Office said on Monday.
Twenty-five water buffaloes have been reported dead from the 94 recorded as living on the mountain as of September, Yangmingshan National Park Service statistics showed.
Seventeen were found dead in Qingtiangang (擎天崗), six in Shitiling (石梯嶺) and two on Huangzuishan (磺嘴山), data showed.
Photo courtesy of Keng Wei’s office via CNA
The animals developed nutritional deficiencies after eating low-quality food over a long period, the office said.
It advised the park to provide emergency nutritional supplements for the buffaloes in Qingtiangang and Shitiling.
The supplements should include protein and mineral-rich salt licks, and fodder, the office said, adding that park officials should step up patrols and communication with the public.
Officials should also take samples from the buffaloes to conduct health checks, and carry out a long-term assessment of their habitat, it said.
The park said it had instructed rangers to prepare nutrient-rich fodder and licks, which would be placed for the buffaloes within two or three days.
A relatively large number of water buffaloes this year, compounded by constant rain, has affected the nutritional content of the grass, it said.
Park spokesman Chang Shun-fa (張順發) called on the public to refrain from feeding the animals.
Aside from the risk associated with coming in contact with wild animals, feeding them could make them unwilling to graze naturally, Chang said.
He advised adhering to the “three noes” principle: Do not touch, do not bother and do not feed.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Keng Wei (耿葳) said that park officials have since last year been erecting fences to restrict the buffaloes’ grazing area, yet are blaming the mass die-off on the weather.
Keng accused the park of deliberately hiding the fact that its misguided policy has starved the animals.
Park officials should bear full responsibility and the office should handle the matter according to the law, she said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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