Families feeding wild boar at Lorong Halus as entertainment

Families are feeding the animals in Pasir Ris as entertainment
VIVIENNE LIM, MARIAN GOVIN, ONG YAN QUAN The New Paper 21 Jun 16;

In a quiet corner in the north-east of Singapore, feeding wild boars has become a form of family entertainment.

The families gather in a fenced area at Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6, near the Lorong Halus wetland, to feed the herd of wild animals.

Shin Min Daily News reported that as many as 30 people were feeding 10 wild boars in the area on June 18.

This was despite reports of boars attacking people - even killing a couple in Malaysia last year - and advisories from local animal conservation groups and the authorities not to feed them. (See report on right.)

When interviewed by Shin Min, Mr Aziz Wan, 20, said he has been feeding the wild boars for about three years as he sees them as meek and docile creatures.

BABY BOARS

When The New Paper visited the site at 6pm yesterday, there were eight big boars and five baby boars being fed bread and apples by two families.

A couple, who wanted to be known as Mrs Helen, 44, and Mr Simon, 54, said that about two months ago, there were no baby boars, but now there are five to six.

Mr Simon said that he is "worried that the wild boars do not have enough food to eat".

So the couple brought with them quite a lot of food, including one loaf of bread and a bag of biscuits.

A joint advisory by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, NParks and Wildlife Reserves Singapore warns that "although they appear shy, they are still wild animals and are unpredictable in behaviour which could pose a risk to public safety".

Ms Anbarasi Boopal, 33, the deputy chief executive of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore), said: "I would urge people not to feed them, because they would start to associate humans with a source of food. Once that happens, they may start charging at humans."

She encourages people to just appreciate the wild boars from a distance, but not approach to feed or interact with them.

"They have enough food in the wild, so if left alone they will forage on whatever food is available and survive. They don't need to be fed by humans," she said.

Advisory 
on wild boars

Be calm and move slowly away from the animal. Do not approach or attempt to feed the animal.
Keep a safe distance and do not corner or provoke the animal, for example, by using flash photography.
If you see adults with young piglets, leave them alone. These are potentially more dangerous because they may attempt to defend their young.

Source: Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore

Past cases

May 29

A boy was taken to hospital after being injured by a wild boar, although it is not clear what injuries he sustained. The incident happened near Block 184 in Edgefield Plains at about 2.15pm. A car dashcam showed a wild boar running on the road in the neighbourhood that day.

April 21

A 49-year-old motorcyclist, logistics worker Krishnan, fractured his right shoulder after a wild boar dashed onto the road while he was travelling on the Seletar Expressway, causing an accident. The wild boar died in the crash.

July 2, 2015

An elderly couple were attacked and killed by a wild boar while they were tapping rubber trees at a plantation in Segamat, Johor. The victims, Mr Loo See Sing, 66, and his wife, Madam Liow Mei Lan, 68, were going about their normal routine in the morning when the animal attacked them.


Woman feeding wild boars sparks praise and concern
Joanna Seow, Straits Times AsiaOne 21 Jun 16;

A video posted by a user on the Facebook group Love Cycling SG shows about 10 boars of various sizes at a muddy patch of bare ground in Pasir Ris. A woman is also seen emptying out the contents of several plastic bags near the animals, which the boars then eat.

Some wild boars that inhabit the area around the Lorong Halus Jetty in Pasir Ris have been getting fed by members of the public, and raising concerns among others.

A video and photos of one woman feeding the animals were posted on a Facebook group for cycling enthusiasts on Sunday.

The video, posted by a user on the Facebook group Love Cycling SG, shows about 10 boars of different sizes at a muddy, barren patch of land. A woman is also seen nearby, emptying out the contents of several plastic bags, which the boars then eat.

The user was cycling past the jetty when he saw the woman and the animals. He later saw the woman remove the plastic bags after feeding the animals.

Several people praised the woman's actions, with one person calling it a "lovely and heartwarming sight".

Others, however, expressed concern that feeding the boars might cause them to come into closer contact with humans in their search for food. A wild boar reportedly chased and injured a boy in Punggol last month. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on June 1 said it has received 27 complaints about wild boars so far this year.

Feeding the boars might indeed cause them to associate humans with food, said Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive at the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres).

"Feeding should be stopped... If not, they might approach humans in the future, and people may report them as a nuisance, resulting in them being culled," she told The Straits Times.

Wild animals can also be unpredictable, so it is best to look at them from a distance, added Ms Boopal. "They will have enough food in their habitat to survive," she said.

A national serviceman, who gave his name as Aziwan, 20, said he has fed the boars at the jetty for nearly three years, and they typically do not come around after 6pm or 7pm, evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

"These wild boars are all very gentle, they won't attack people. And there is a fence surrounding the area, as long as people don't cross it, it should be safe," he said.

About 30 people were seen by Shin Min feeding the boars in the span of an hour, including some who drove to the jetty with their children.

According to an advisory on the AVA website, people should not try to feed wild boars and should keep a safe distance from them.

"Wild boars are unpredictable animals and can be dangerous. Their teeth can inflict serious injuries. Female wild boars, especially, are dangerous when protecting their young," said the advisory.

The public is also advised to not provoke wild boars by taking photographs with the flash turned on.


Feeding wild boar causes more harm than good
Woman photographed feeding wild boar in Pasir Ris
ONG YAN QUAN, MARIAN GOVIN The New Paper AsiaOne 22 Jun 16;

When animal activist Anbarasi Boopal saw this photo of a woman feeding wild boars, she was sad that the woman was "putting herself in danger".

And sad that the woman does not even realise the consequences of her actions.

"The wild boars are wild animals that will charge at humans when threatened," said Ms Boopal, 33, who is the deputy chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres).

"It's very sad because despite having good intentions, her actions are causing more harm than good."

By feeding the animals, the woman is creating a link between food and humans, she said.

"Once that happens, they may start charging at humans."

Despite safety warnings against feeding the wild boars, curious visitors continue to frequent Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6, where the photo was taken.

It looks like a scene in the Singapore Zoo because the drain and the fence forms a barrier between the visitors and the wild boars.

But unlike the zoo, the woman who enters the clearing to feed the animals and clean up the rubbish appears to be untrained in dealing with wild animals.

A video and photos of her feeding the animals were posted on a Facebook page for cycling enthusiasts on Sunday.

PRAISED

Several people praised the woman's actions. One person called it a "lovely and heart-warming sight".

Ms Boopal wanted to set these people straight. "People who feed them want to feel good about helping them, but their lack of awareness only creates more problems in the long term," she said.

Ms Boopal recommends a strong outreach to raise awareness about the consequences of feeding wild boars and a nationwide ban on feeding wild animals.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) also advised the public not to feed the wild boars as this alters their behaviour and may cause them to be reliant on humans for food.

On June 1, the AVA said it had received 27 complaints about wild boars so far this year.

The frequent visits by families are also a growing concern.

"Bringing young children to feed the wild boars is not a good educational message," added Ms Boopal.

When The New Paper revisited the location yesterday, it was evident the visitors were not environmentally friendly.

The area next to the clearing had empty plastic bags and bread tags scattered on the ground and in the drain. Plastic bags, half-eaten apples and whole oranges could be seen strewn around in the clearing.

A cleaner, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lance, 39, said the litter from visitors is a growing problem.

The AVA said "control operations" are ongoing in the Punggol area in response to the feedback of wild boar sightings from the public.

In recent years, wild boars, which are foragers, have been culled when herds grow to a point where they start destroying the natural habitat.

WHEN WILD BOARS ATTACK

As the wild boar population in Singapore grows, more people have been getting hurt in their encounters with these wild animals.

In 2012, an elderly woman broke her pelvis on Pulau Ubin after her excursion group started interacting with and feeding a wild boar and its two piglets.

The 64-year-old was carrying food in a red plastic bag when the wild boar charged at her from behind.

The woman, who fell and broke her pelvis, had to be carried away and was taken to a hospital on the mainland.

She was with a group of 40 when they saw the wild boars.

They even went up to the wild boars, which seemed unafraid of humans, to feed and snap photos of them before the woman was attacked.

FLUNG

Earlier that year, a five-year-old boy was flung a metre after a wild boar rammed into his rear in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

He was playing near a playground when the wild boar charged and hurled him into the air. He was not seriously injured.

The boar also attacked a patrolling Cisco protection officer, who injured his hand in a fall.

Across the Causeway, an elderly couple died from injuries caused by a wild boar last July.

Mr Loo See Sing, 66, and his wife Madam Liow Mei Lan, 68, were tapping rubber in a plantation in Segamat, Johor, when the wild boar attacked them.

They were found dead with cuts from the boar's tusks all over their bodies.


AVA conducting 'control operations' on wild boars in Punggol
'Control operations' on wild boars are being carried out after a video of a woman feeding the animals triggered discussion online.
Channel NewsAsia 21 Jun 16;

SINGAPORE: The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Tuesday (Jun 21) said it is carrying out "control operations" on wild boars in the Punggol area after a video which showed a woman feeding a group of the animals gained attention online.

The video, which was posted on the Love Cycling SG Facebook page on Sunday, sparked discussion among netizens about the act of feeding the animals and whether authorities would take action.

On Tuesday, an AVA spokesperson said that when it receives feedback on wild boar sightings, surveillance is conducted to assess the situation.

"If there are public safety or nuisance concerns, control operations will be carried out. Currently, control operations are ongoing in the Punggol area," AVA said. It added that as of Tuesday evening, no wild boars have been caught in the Lorong Halus area.

AVA also advised members of the public not to feed wild animals, as this alters their behaviour and may cause them to be reliant on humans for food.

According to the AVA website, members of the public should also keep a safe distance from wild boars and not provoke the animals with flash photography.

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