Lots of activists look after the welfare of dogs or cats or even reptiles, but Carol Biddell cares for everything that moves. Well, almost.
Carol, a Sai Kung resident for 30 years, is:
–Fitting cattle that walk on main roads with reflective collars;
— assisting AFCD with a new kind of desexing method for cows;
— battling a man who kills turtles in Ho Chung Rover with fishing nets; and
— protesting against Sai Kung restaurants that display marooned horseshoe crabs on pavements.
At home Carol and her son Isamu (Sam) have an iguana, two leopard geckos, two turtles and four dogs. In her garden wild geckos and skinks roam plus the occasional snake and an assortment of frogs. “The pretty ones are the tree frogs,” Carol said. “But they are not my favourites because they lay frog spawn on my laundry.”
Carol acquired this menagerie in a variety of ways: The iguana, geckos and turtles were passed on by people who could no longer care for them. The dogs –Boris, Wally, Frankie and Mr Wong — were all abandoned, sometimes in rubbish bins, then rescued.
On collars for cows, Carol says she bought reflective webbing for 80 collars in China. Daughter Nagasia is now sewing velcro on to the webbing. The idea is to make sure cattle don’t get caught: the velcro will pull apart. The collars are to be fitted to cattle that make a habit of walking, even sleeping, on Tai Mong Tsai and Sai Sha Roads. “It’s a slow process because it’s not easy putting a collar on a large frisky feral cow… but we are getting there slowly.”
The AFCD is testing injections to limit fertility in female cattle. These are GonaCon injections that contain a contraceptive causing an immune response. Studies have found the welfare of cows is unaffected and fertility reduced. “This is a better option that desexing operations,” Carol said. Along with Karina O’Carroll she is lead organiser of Sai Kung Buffalo Watch.
Carol has called the AFCD many times about a man with a red boat on Ho Chung River who kills turtles with fishing nets, accidentally or otherwise.
“He has been at it for a long time.” She has photographed turtles in his nets and estimated up to 20 have drowned. The AFCD and police say they can’t do anything,
except warn the fisherman that cruelty to animals is against the law. “If we see a net with a turtle in it we pull up the net, rescue the turtle and put the net in the bin. Finally last month after a warning from the police he has stopped using the big net. But we are not sure for how long… we will be watching.”
Regarding horseshoe crabs lying marooned by restaurants on pavements as Sai Kung residents and visitors walk around them, sometimes picking them up by their tails for a photo, Carol says, “How can this not be seen as cruelty! The last response from the Government was ‘it’s ok because they can breath out of water.’ They just don’t care.” Her complaints to the AFCD result in their talking to the restaurant people, “who say they won’t do it again. But of course they do.”
Sai Kung Buffalo Watch can be reached 24 hours at 9781 4703. Carol says they are ready to help any injured or sick animal (deer, turtles, pigs, anything that breathes) except dogs and cats, which have several fine charities looking after them.