I bicycled from Broulee to Mogo the other day. My journey took me past the Mogo Zoo and in a paddock nearby I saw the lovely Water Buffaloes. We are always excited to drive past the Mogo Zoo and see their Water Buffaloes because Water Buffaloes! This time I was on a bicycle so I decided to stop. I Got off my bike and I leaned against the fence. And there they were in the paddock right there. Water Buffaloes.
What handsome beasts they are. And gigantic. And not at all watery but solid and wide and excellently hefty.
I started at them, they stared back at me.Then slowly, slowly, some of them started to move towards my leaning spot by the fence. I made the sort of noises one makes to attract cows. That appeared to decide it for them and they all began a ponderous meander in my direction. Did they think I would feed them? Did they perhaps love me as I already loved them? Did they want to kill me and eat me? Why not, I am certainly delicious.
But there they were and here they come. At one point a small one which was the paddock next door climbed through the fence to be with the others. I wondered about the fences at that point. Weak fences that a baby Water Buffalo could wander through. The baby ones are a sandy colour and fuzzy.
I was there for about 10 minutes as my new Buffalo friends slowly made their way toward me, I tried to make myself as appealing to them as possible but I am not really sure what that means. Eventually as you can see from the photos they made their way up to the fence where I was standing.
I said to the nearest one, I would like to pat you but I am a bit frightened. It did not reply. Although there was general snorting.
Then a motorcycle arrived. “Would you mind not doing that” said the motorcycle guy. He had an English accent and I have come to think of him as the Rude Englishman. He said “The mums come up to the fence with their babies and then they sometimes run through. The last time that happened we had to shoot them”
Having extruded his instruction, he turned to go. No Hello, No Goodbye, No Aren’t the Buffaloes lovely and how about this weather! No please or thank you no nothing.
I said I would not mind leaving them alone at all and sorry about that I didn’t realise it was a problem. He was already back at his motorcycle. Perhaps he was in a hurry.
I suggested they might put a sign on the fence to discourage Stupid Fat Tourists from Enticing the Water Buffaloes to talk to them.
And he said “well we don’t normally have them in this paddock but kayakers and people are coming along the river and talking to them on the other side so we needed to move them”.
Then when I tried to talk to him about how lovely the Water Buffaloes were he said he couldn’t hear me because he had his helmet on. And then he left.
He was quite dismissive and unnecessarily rude. I wonder if he was the guy who shot the lion that one time? I felt a bit foolish that I had only wanted to talk to the Water Buffaloes and had almost been responsible for them all being shot! I was ashamed. And then I realised no! The Rude Englishman had made me feel ashamed with his snide and dismissive manner. How beastly!
There I was riding past, stopping innocently to chat to the Water Buffaloes and he made me feel like an idiot because the Mogo Zoo are too cheap to pay for decent fences and would rather shoot escaping Buffaloes than spend the money to secure their enclosure. This snooty fellow has single handedly ruined my entire holiday. Bastard!
Obviously if I am actually causing a problem I am happy to leave the Water Buffaloes alone, I certainly do not want to cause them any distress or Buffalo problems and I do not wish to create any work or complications for the people who look after them. However, how was I to know? And is that the normal process for managing water Buffalo security? Sending Mr Snitty to threaten to kill the livestock?
Because I have such a generous and forgiving nature I have helpfully made some signs that they could put up:
It appears The Mogo Zoo has chosen to put a whole crew of potentially uncontrollable half ton animals in an enclosure with a crappy fence which could result in escape which could result in water buffaloes causing car accidents or attacking people and finding themselves being shot to death. Perhaps I am mistaken.
And all of this could be triggered by a well meaning fat cartoonist on a bicycle who just wanted some water buffalo love! Heavens.
Perhaps the Rude Englishman was just jealous because the water buffaloes obviously loved me? Perhaps he didn’t work at the zoo at all! Maybe he just rides around the country telling people to stay away from things by making up stories because he is a madman on holiday. It is a mystery.