On the evening of October 11th, we received an urgent call and a video about a deer that had its head trapped in an irrigation floodgate for many hours. The deer was in obvious serious distress, but nobody—not even the fire brigade—had come to help because Water deer are listed as vermin according to the Wildlife Protection and Management Act.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists Water deer as a Vulnerable species that can only be found in Korea and China.
We rushed to the scene, only to find that it had already suffocated to death. The fire brigade eventually arrived after receiving a lot of calls from concerned citizens, but it was too late.
In the name of “reconstruction,” mountains and forests in South Korea are being covered in cement each day. Wildlife are pushed off their ranges, and with few places to go, end up getting killed by traffic on roads, trapped in man-made constructions—like the deer suffocating to death in the floodgate, or shot by hunters and farmers protecting their crops.
Reconstruction for humans is nothing but destruction for animals.
There are people who are willing to help and have set up or are setting up rescue centers all over the country for wildlife. But even if animals receive treatment and are returned to their habitat, this does nothing to change the situation. They will continue to be pushed out of their habitats and will continue to die.
If you live in South Korea, here is a list of local phone numbers that you can call if you see an animal in need or in danger.
Seoul – 02 880 8659
Busan – 051 209 2091
Daejeon – 042 821 7930
Ulsan – 052 256 5322
Incheon – 032 858 9702
Gyeonggi Province – 031 8008 6212
Gangwon Province – 033 250 7504
North Chungcheon Province – 043 216 3328
South Chungcheon Province – 041 334 1666
North Jeolla Province – 063 850 0983
South Jeolla Province – 061 749 4800
North Gyeongsang Province – 054 840 8250
South Gyeongsang Province – 055 754 9575
Jeju Province – 064 752 9982