A swarm of locusts has been spotted at the Plover Cove Reservoir in Tai Po over recent days.

Locusts in Tai Po. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Chairman of the Hong Kong Entomological Society Yiu Vor told RTHK that he suspected that they were a result of a “mercy release” – a Buddhist practice of freeing captured animals to create good karma.

He added that, although most of the locusts will not survive, such large quantities could cause damage to the habitat and endanger other wild animals.

A spokesperson for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department told HKFP that the department sent out teams to patrol the area on Tuesday and Wednesday, but did not find anything abnormal.

Water quality at the Plover Cove Reservoir was tested and found to be normal, according to Water Supplies Department engineer Season Chan Sik-chun.

Plover Cove Reservoir. File Photo: Wikicommons.

According to the Waterworks Ordinance, it is illegal to cause any animals to enter waterworks. Anyone guilty of such an offence will liable to a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for two years.

In October, a hiker spotted a swarm of locusts in Ma On Shan. On Facebook they said: “At first I thought they were grasshoppers, but a closer look showed that they were locusts feeding on leaves.”

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.