VietNamNet Bridge – When local people have to struggle to drive away the gayals which attack their fields, state officers have to become sleepless to protect the animal species listed in the Red Book.
On May 20, a gayal weighing 100 kilos was found dead in Tan Loi Commune of Dong Phu district in the southern province of Binh Phuoc. At the same time, there was much conversation about the attack of a bull to the maize field of a local farmer – Duong Van Tai.
People fight with bulls to scramble for food
Tai said that his fields have been regularly attacked by the bulls; therefore, he has to stay up at the sentry box to watch over the cassava and maize growing areas. Tai’s fields are located close to the Xuong Rong hill, where the bulls are living.
However, even though Tai applied “necessary security methods,” the bulls still seriously damaged his maize fields in May. Tai and other local residents, after considering the traces on the fields, said that at least three bulls “joined the attack.”
Tai has been living and cultivating the land since 1985. Tai affirmed that there are 18-20 bulls in the herd. In previous years, the bulls did not enter the fields and damage farm produce in rainy season. However, the bulls seem to have changed their strategy.
Tai said that as the old sentry box was damaged, he has to set up a new one, about 20 meters far from the Xuong Rong hill. In the evening, Tai lights fire and creates noise to keep the bulls away.
Nguyen Van Canh in Tan Loi commune, complained that in 2011, the bulls damaged his cassava fields covering an area of several thousands of square meters. “They (the bulls) are very wise: they do not eat leaves, but they eat bulbs,” he said.
“The bulls have become hardy. They are not afraid of people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lieu Van Thanh, another farmer, said that in the past, bulls lived in the forests. However, as the forests have been damaged to get land for growing rubber, the bulls more regularly go to residential areas and damage fields. Therefore, some land plots have been left idle because the bulls would damage any trees to be grown there.
The struggle to protect bulls
While farmers try to keep bulls away to protect their fields, some state officers have to protect the bulls. A group of five people have been assigned to protect the bulls in the Tan Hoa – Tan Loi commune alone.
One of the officers said they have to work harder recently, since they continuously receive the complaints from farmers about the attacks of the bulls.
The officers have many big worries. Nguyen Van Cao, Head of the Dong Phu forest ranger unit, said that bulls regularly enter residential areas and damage farm produce; therefore, they could be easily killed by illegal hunters. Two bulls were killed in 2010 and 2012.
Cao also said that the bulls may be killed if they eat the farm produce with pesticide residues.
Cao said that local residents have been very cooperative in protecting the bulls. “If they discover strangers entering the area, or hearing the shooting, they would immediately call foreign rangers to inform about that,” he said.
In the house of every family, there is a big picture of bulls hung on the wall. Local residents said this reminds them about the task of protecting the nature.