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Investigation launched into water buffalo deaths in Yangmingshan

18 of the 24 water buffalo died over that past 19 days

Two dozen water buffalo have died in Yangmingshan this year, eight times the norm. 

Two dozen water buffalo have died in Yangmingshan this year, eight times the norm.  (CNA photo)

A team composed of veterinarians and animal health specialists is now looking into the deaths of 24 wild water buffaloes in Yangmingshan National Park, the Taipei City Animal Protection Office said Saturday.

Among the 24 dead wild water buffaloes, the office noted, 18 died over the past 19 days, including one calf that was found dead Friday (Dec. 18) evening.
To determine the cause of deaths, the team recently collected samples from the carcasses as well as water and plants from areas where the water buffaloes are most active for testing, the office said.

The locations where the carcasses were found were also disinfected, it said. The calf carcass was sent to National Taiwan University's School of Veterinary Medicine on Saturday for an autopsy, while samples were submitted to the Animal Health Research Institute, a government body dedicated to animal well-being, to be examined.

The office urged visitors to the scenic spot to avoid areas where the wild water buffaloes are most active, citing concerns over the possible transmission of infectious disease from animals to humans. In wake of the deaths, the office said it notified Yangmingshan National Park Headquarters to take steps to control the disease, such as preventing visitor contact with the animals and carrying out disinfection.

There was an estimated population of 35 wild water buffaloes in the Qingtiangang Grassland and another 32 to 37 in surrounding areas, according to headquarter statistics as of December 2019.