Coney Island cow dies, 'will be missed'

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 12 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE — A lone bovine fondly referred to as the Coney Island cow is probably frolicking in greener pastures.

The National Parks Board (NParks) announced on Wednesday (Oct 12) that the animal had died, eliciting a wave of sympathy and conspiracy theories online.

“The cow was a recognisable part of Coney Island Park and will be missed,” NParks said in a statement. It added that post-mortem investigations showed that the cow had chronic underlying illnesses and that it had likely died of heart and lung complications while sedated.

The cow was sedated as standard procedure during an annual health check on Sept 28. Veterinarians took blood and fecal samples, but later could not revive the animal.

That information led some people online to question why the cow was sedated in the first place.

“I don’t think a medical check up was necessary,” Mr Melvyn Tan said on Facebook. “The cow/bull was fine before humans started invading it’s home. Now we have to give it check ups for the safety of the visitors?”

In its statement, NParks had said: “Health checks are necessary for the cow’s own wellbeing and for public health reasons, for example, to prevent the spread of diseases between animals and humans.”

The single, free-roaming bull had been a social media star since Coney Island was opened to the public last year. Known as the Coney Island Cow, it is a Brahman, a breed of Zebu cattle that originates from South Asia.

Since Coney Island’s opening, the cow was found to be malnourished and sick and it underwent a veterinary check-up every six months.

“Murdered in the name of science. #conspiracytheories,” Mr Jason Yip posted on Facebook.

“And the Internet cow experts have gathered and the usual comments are flowing. PAP fault. Government fault. Cover up. Why this why that,” another post read.

Others were more sympathetic, posting “RIP”.

“You were elusive and a bit of an urban legend,” Ms Paula Robinson posted on Facebook.

It is still a mystery how the bull got on the island. It could have wandered from Punggol or Lorong Halus, but no one has reported a lost cow.


Coney Island cow dies
Channel NewsAsia 12 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE: A free-roaming Brahman bull on Coney Island Park, fondly referred to as Coney Island cow, has died, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced on Wednesday (Oct 12).

It could not be revived after it was sedated for blood and fecal samples to be taken during its annual health check by veterinarians on Sep 28.

"Health checks are necessary for the cow’s own wellbeing and for public health reasons, for example, to prevent the spread of diseases between animals and humans. Given its large size, sedating the cow was a standard procedure to ensure the safety of all personnel involved," NParks said.

It added that post-mortem investigations by AVA have concluded and the results show that the cow had chronic underlying illnesses, and that it likely died of heart and lung complications while sedated.

"The cow was a recognisable part of Coney Island Park and will be missed," NParks stated.

According to the NParks website, the cow's presence on the island "remains a mystery".

"The cow may have wandered in from Punggol or Lorong Halus. It was only noticed after the dam crossings were built," said NParks, adding that there were no reports of missing cows.

- CNA/ly


Coney Island: The life and death of a lonely Singapore cow
BBC 16 Oct 16;

Singapore's favourite - and only - wild cow died this week. The Coney Island Cow lived for years on a small north-eastern island, but as Heather Chen explains, its origins were as mysterious as its death was sad.

Nameless and elusive, no-one really knows how the lonely bull wound up on Coney Island.

"The animal may have wandered in. It was only noticed after dam crossings were built," said Singapore's National Parks Board (NParks), responsible for managing the city state's greenery.

"But as no-one has reported a lost cow, its presence on the island remains a mystery."

The 133-hectare island was once owned by the Haw Par brothers, the wealthy entrepreneurs behind Tiger Balm who have left such a sizeable footprint on Singapore's modern history.

They sold it in the 1950s to an Indian businessman who wanted to turn remodel it after the popular New York amusement destination.

But nothing materialised despite a name change, and the land was slated for government redevelopment.
It will be missed

One year ago, the island became Singapore's newest national park, being opened up to tourists for hiking and cycling, on a short network of paths.

It was then everyone became aware that the island already belonged to one magnificent beast: The Cow.

With it solitary stoic presence, it quickly became a local legend among Singaporeans, most of whom live in the city or suburbs and have little interaction with livestock.

No trip to Coney Island was complete without trying to track down the cow, heeding the strict warning signs about not feeding it, provoking it or trying to photograph it.

Sadly, his life came to an unlucky end this week, when he failed to wake up after a routine veterinary check-up.

Officials said he had likely died of heart and lung complications while necessarily sedated.

"The cow was a recognisable part of Coney Island Park and will be missed," said NParks.

Singaporeans from all walks of life came together on social media to mourn the passing of their favourite cow.

"He was a real gangster, roaming about the island without caring about anyone," reminisced Xun Low on Facebook.

"I am actually saddened to hear this," shared Julie Low. "I saw it once when I visited Coney Island. My sons were so excited. How often do you see large animals roaming around freely in Singapore?"

"So sad, I haven't even gotten the chance to meet you during my last two trips to Coney Island," said Selin Sim.

"RIP Mr Cow," said Ahmad Ishak. "Though I never met you and have missed you during all my visits to Coney Island, I bet that you will be missed by many."

Others like Benjamin Seah, questioned the need for sedating an old animal. NParks said given its size there was no other option.

"It was living there peacefully for so many years and now it can't be be revived," he said.

But many Singaporeans like Ahmed Alshahab found a bit of humour in the situation.

"The cow was roaming around happily. So what killed it? A health screening!"

While some compared the news to the death of Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe, others like Zulkifli Rokhim offered a cheeky suggestion.

"Rename the place 'Cowney Island' as tribute," she said.


Coney Island cow's death goes global with BBC report
Lydia Lam, MyPaper AsiaOne 18 Oct 16;

The death of Coney Island's lone cow has now made international headlines.

In a report headlined "Coney Island: The life and death of a lonely Singapore cow", the BBC on Sunday wrote that the animal "quickly became a local legend among Singaporeans, most of whom live in the city or suburbs and have little interaction with livestock".

The cow, which was really a Brahman bull, died last month during a routine health check.

It had been a hit among netizens, and visitors to Coney Island often tried to locate it, though it was famously elusive.

The National Parks Board (NParks) announced its death last Wednesday, saying that the cow "was a recognisable part of Coney Island Park and will be missed".

NParks had first found the lone bovine while setting up the 50ha park at Punggol, which was opened to the public a year ago.

The park got its name when a businessman in 1950 bought and named it after New York's Coney Island amusement park with intentions to turn it into a resort.

It is not known how the cow got there or how old it was, although NParks told the BBC that it may "have wandered in" and was noticed only after dam crossings were built.

"But as no one has reported a lost cow, its presence on the island remains a mystery," said NParks.

The Straits Times reported last week that the cow was sickly and malnourished when it was first found but recovered after foraging naturally on the abundant vegetation on the island.

Post-mortem investigations by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) show that the cow had "chronic underlying illnesses, and that it likely died of heart and lung complications while sedated".

Online, netizens reacted with sadness and some with outrage that it had died while sedated.

Twitter user Darryl Kang wrote: "Rest in peace Coney Island cow. Sad that we didn't get a chance to meet each other."

Some even compared it to Harambe, a silver back gorilla from a zoo in the United States that was controversially shot dead after a child got into its enclosure.

NParks said in a statement that "health checks are necessary for the cow's own well-being and for public health reasons, for example, to prevent the spread of diseases between animals and humans".

"Given its large size, sedating the cow was a standard procedure to ensure the safety of all personnel involved," it added.

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