An elderly farmer in Taitung City has been searching for his brown ox for more than a week after the animal wandered away on Tuesday last week.
His son has posted messages on social media to recruit more people in the search for the ox.
“He is the most obedient animal of all the cattle I have raised,” said Teng Kao-yi (鄧高義), a 70-year-old farmer in Taitung’s Jianhe Borough (建和), on Monday.
Teng, a Puyuma Aborigine, is one of the few farmers still using an ox to plow his fields.
Teng said that five years ago, he and his wife bought a calf from a friend.
Teng named it Niu Niu (牛牛) and began tilling his fields with the ox pulling the plow three years ago.
“I grow ginger and betel pepper on my fields. The ox is my indispensable helper. He is the only ox still doing farming work in our Jianhe community. My farm production and income have increased since he began working,” Teng said.
“He is a smart ox. When I teach him to do something, he learns quickly. He is never stubborn and always works hard until the job is done,” Teng said.
“When I ask my son to do something, he might be unwilling and talk back to me. However, my ox never complains. When I am busy and forget about him, he will make a low mooing sound, as though he is sweet-talking me. When I called out his name, he would reply. He is such an adorable animal,” he added.
Teng said that on Jan. 6 he took Niu Niu to a field in the neighboring Jiannung Borough (建農), which had a lot of fresh grass.
Teng said he thought his ox would enjoy a good meal there, and roped the animal to a tree on the pasture to stay overnight.
However, he returned the next day to find the ox missing.
Over the next days, Teng searched for the animal, but to no avail.
Teng quoted witnesses as saying that Niu Niu wandered off to a nearby Amis Aborigine family stead, and someone saw it strolling toward the banks of the Lijia River (利嘉溪) by the Fongyuan Bridge (豐源橋).
Teng followed the trail of the ox’s hoofprints for 5km and saw tire tracks, and he suspects the ox was stolen by someone driving the truck.
Teng said has been unable to sleep at night.
“Whenever I think of Niu Niu, tears began to fill my eyes,” he said, adding that he gets up at five in the morning each day to resume the search and has also asked for divine assistance.
“It is time to plant seedlings in the rice paddies, but my field is not even tilled yet. I hope that Niu Niu returns so we can plow the field together,” Teng said.
Teng said he has already filed a report with the local police, hoping authorities can track down the missing ox.
His son is also assisting by posting messages with pictures of the ox on Facebook.