Trials done to remove, disperse mynas, says AVA

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 21 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE — The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) does not control the population of mynas in Singapore, but it has conducted two trials to test “removal” and “dispersal” methods.

In July 2015, it conducted a mist-netting trial in Hougang, trapping mynas in nylon nets made up of three to four panels that overlap to form pockets. Eleven mynas were trapped during the three-day trial and were euthanised because relocation was not feasible, the AVA said.

It added that mist-netting is a common trapping method used by conservationists to capture birds for monitoring and bird banding: “The method is humane, as the birds are captured alive with minimal human intervention.” The agency has not used mist-netting since the trial.

Last year, the AVA began a fogging trial that is ongoing in Yishun and Clementi. Selected trees are fogged with a chemical made of methylated soybean oil and a grape extract that repels mynas by causing a brief, temporary burning feeling in the mouths, throats and other parts of their faces. With repeated fogging, the AVA hopes that the birds will learn to avoid the areas. The chemical is not known to have adverse effects on humans or animals and has been successfully used in the United States to prevent birds from feeding on crops.

“If successful, fogging may help supplement existing measures for more effective, long-term management of myna-related issues in Singapore,” the AVA said, adding that it is evaluating the effectiveness of this method.

From a study on the Javan myna that concluded in 2013, the AVA found that removal of food sources would help curb its population in the long run. The study also recommended that AVA take a multi-pronged approach of dispersal and removal as short-term measures to manage myna-related issues.

Measures have also been deployed for other birds — the AVA controls the crow population, and started a trial in 2015 using a drug that acts as oral contraceptives for pigeons. In February 2015, it embarked on a year-long trial of using bird-deterrent gels at Block 755 Choa Chu Kang North 5, and observed that this was effective in stopping birds from roosting where the gels were placed.

The agency has shared the findings with parties such as town councils and building managers to see if they would like to try the gels.

“Bird-related issues, including nuisances caused by mynas, are often complex and there is no standalone solution,” the AVA said. 

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