Farmers in the central province of Phu Yen say that they have spotted a pair of bovine, believed to be the endangered, indigenous gaur, living in a forest near their residences.
Dang Chi Hau, chairman of the Xuan Quang ward in the province’s Dong Xuan district, told Thanh Nien News that he finally spotted the animals after spending several nights staking out a local corn field.
“At around 1:30 am on June 30, a few locals and I saw what looked to be a 1-ton gaur wander into the field and start snacking on corn,” said Hau.
According to Hau, the gaurs wandered out of Ba Tien forest-- roughly 2km from the corn field -- for about a month now.
The gaurs have already destroyed two corn fields, locals said.
“The gaurs get into our fields at night, eat and destroy our corn crop. I've tried to scare them off, but at this rate, I won't have any crops to defend soon,” said Binh, the owner of the fields, pointing big hoof prints in the soil.
Two other local men in the village of Dong Hoi claimed to have been chased by a gaur.
“My son and I were riding home from our field when a big gaur emerged out of a nearby sugarcane field and charged at us. We just drove away as fast as possible away,” recalled Tran Minh.
Dong Hoi Village Chairman Le Quoc Hai confirmed to Thanh Nien that the gaurs were first spotted in the area three years ago.
“We even downloaded pictures from the internet to confirm they're gaurs,” said Hai, who claimed he had positively identified them.
According to Vu Cong Tam, chief of the Dong Xuan District Forestry Department, the gaurs only emerge from the forrest during the summer. They're believed to leave the forest due to dry streams and poor food supplies during the hot, dry period.
Officials from the department were mobilized to the location to help locals protect their crops and drive the wild oxen away without harming them.