United States scientists have come up with a new way of getting rid of unwanted weed growing in waterways.
SV PAN Water buffalo in pen
CU Buffalo (2 shots)
GV ZOOM IN Water hyacinth in stream
CU Water buffalo being fed handful of grass
CU Dr. Gerber speaking
GV Water hyacinth
SV Man feeding water buffalo which refuses to eat food
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ 5): GERBER: "In Florida we probably have a hundred or two hundred thousand acres of water covered with water hyacinth. And then the rest of the Gulf Coast states have similar problems. In Africa, water hyacinths are a terrific problem. In some places they've almost stopped commerce on rivers because of the clogging by water hyacinths.
"Now these water hyacinths could be controlled by chemicals. In fact that's what we've done most of the time. But when you do that the weeds are killed; they sink to the bottom of the water; they decompose and may tie up enough oxygen to cause fish kills, and some people thought the chemicals were doing it, and often it was just the decomposition of these water hyacinths.
"Then after they decomposed they released the nutrients they contained back into the water and the whole thing started over again."
"Florida has a few visitors and the state's officials hope they'll literally live off the land. The creatures are water buffalo. Their job is to eat Florida's waterways clean. The University of Florida has imported the docile beasts as part of an experiment to control the proliferation of aquatic weeds, especially water hyacinth that clog the state's lakes and streams.
"These natives of Southeast Asia are being introduced to their new diet in Gainsville before they're let loose to gobble up the luxuriant but unwanted growth.
"Dr. John Gerber explains just what the problem is:"
"Whether this experiment in natural ecology works may depend on the newcomers linking their new diet. The older buffalo turned it down flat, but the younger ones gobbled it all up. This is Andy Macmillan reporting."
Initials BB/1050 LT/PN/BB/0155
This film contains commentary by a TVN reporter, Andy Macmillan, and English speech by an ecologist, Dr. John Gerber. Both are for use.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: United States scientists have come up with a new way of getting rid of unwanted weed growing in waterways.
The state of Florida has imported water buffalo from Southeast Asia to eat their way along the state's waterways.
The experiment is being carried out at Gainsville in Florida, and scientists hope the buffalo will replace the present system of killing weed with chemicals.
Whether the experiment works will depend on how well the buffalo like eating weed such as the water hyacinth, which clogs many of the state's lakes and streams.