Hong Kong conservation officials are dealing with a touchy issue after relocating some shame plants in Tai Lam Country Park, leaving them to wither and die.
The plants, commonly known as “touch me not” had thrived in the Tai Tong section of the park in the New Territories until the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) uprooted them and moved them to less ideal surroundings, Metro Daily reports.
The move followed complaints from parents about children being stung by the prickly plant.
Yuen Long district councilor Wong Wai-yin accused the AFCD of acting too hastily.
He said its response was inconsistent with its conservation efforts.
Netizens took to social media to criticize the concerned parents for making “frivolous complaints”.
Wong, who frequents the park to walk his dog, said the shame plants were healthy the last time he visited.
He later found them gone, some apparently destroyed. The plants had been moved to a location where they withered and died, he said.
Wong said the AFCD had fenced them off, apparently to keep children away.
AFCD officials said they had received suggestions several years ago to move all shame plants in Tai Lam Country Park to a common location for the enjoyment of hikers.
Some shame plants were then moved and fenced off to protect them from wild animals, they said.
A new location is being considered in the wake of the discovery.
So Kwok-yin, chief executive of the Conservancy Association, said shame plants are rare in highly urbanized places like Hong Kong.
They thrive in barren land such as landfills, he said.
– Contact us at [email protected]