2 injured in accident involving wild boar near Tuas Checkpoint

Channel NewsAsia 28 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE: Two people were injured when a wild boar turned up at the Ayer Rajah Expressway on Thursday (Sep 28) morning, causing an accident.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it despatched an ambulance to the scene near Tuas Checkpoint, after receiving an alert at about 7.30am.

The injured duo - a 38-year-old male motorcyclist and his 35-year-old female pillion rider - were sent conscious to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, said police.

Photos posted on public Facebook group Traffic Report JBS show a group of motorcyclists gathered around the injured as the boar lay, apparently dead, on the road.

Facebook user Jackie Lim, who had uploaded the shots, said: "The wild boar caused a traffic accident", adding that it happened about 500m after the Tuas Checkpoint.

Wild boars have been spotted before in Tuas. Videos of a large herd gathering near the Tuas bus terminal were posted online in June. The video clips showed at least 20 standing on the road in front of the National Transport Workers' Union canteen.


Boar's sudden appearance on AYE causes crash
Lydia Lam Straits Times 29 Sep 17;

The sudden appearance of a wild boar on the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) after the Tuas Checkpoint early yesterday caused a traffic accident that sent two people who had been on a motorcycle to hospital and left the animal dead.

Pictures of the scene posted on Johor Baru traffic group Traffic Report JBS showed a dead boar on the road, and a large group of motorcyclists gathered around a man lying on the road.

Facebook user Jackie Lim shared the photos, warning commuters to be careful while driving in the area.

He wrote that the accident occurred at 7.15am, about 500m away from the Tuas Checkpoint.

He wrote: "The boar caused a traffic accident, luckily nobody died."

The Singapore Civil Defence Force told The Straits Times that it was alerted to the accident on the AYE, towards Jurong, at 7.24am and sent an ambulance.

The police added that a 38-year-old male motorcyclist and his 35-year-old female pillion rider were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

In June, a large herd of wild boars was caught on camera swarming a bus interchange in Tuas.

Wildlife group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society later set up metal barriers to prevent the animals from entering the terminal.

In November last year, a 25-year-old motorcyclist was hospitalised after colliding with a wild boar on the Bukit Timah Expressway.

In April last year, a 49-year-old motorcyclist was also injured after a wild boar dashed out on the Seletar Expressway.

According to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) website, wild boars are "unpredictable animals and can be dangerous".

"Due to their solid body build, wild boars are considered to be particularly dangerous when involved in car accidents," said the advisory.

Here is what to do if you encounter a wild boar, according to an advisory by AVA, the National Parks Board and Wildlife Reserves Singapore:

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 while taking pictures.

If you see adult boars with young piglets, leave them alone. These are potentially more dangerous because they may attempt to defend their young.


3 injured in accident involving wild boar at Lentor Avenue
Channel NewsAsia 29 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE: Three people were injured after a car accident involving a wild boar at Lentor Avenue on Friday morning (Sep 29).

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the incident along Lentor Avenue at 7am. Three people were conscious when they were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, SCDF added.

This is the second traffic incident involving wild boars in two days on Singapore roads, after one turned up on the Ayer Rajah Expressway on Thursday morning. A motorcyclist and his pillion were hurt in that accident.

For Friday's accident, a picture posted by a Facebook user Jason Soon showed a damaged black car adjacent to the wild boar, which was seen lying on the floor motionless.

According to police, the 40-year-old car driver and his 17-year-old passenger were injured in the accident. A 53-year-old van driver had collided with the car, and he too was hurt.

Channel NewsAsia understands that all three suffered minor back pain.

AVA to place signs alerting motorists about animals
Melody Zaccheus Straits Times 30 Sep 17;

In the wake of two road accidents caused by wild boars over the past two days, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said it would work with the relevant authorities to place signs in areas where animals are known to appear.

This will "help to warn motorists of potential animal encounters on the road".

The accidents happened on the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) near the Tuas Checkpoint on Thursday, and along Lentor Avenue, in the direction of Yishun, yesterday.

The sudden appearance of the boar on the AYE caused an accident that sent two people on a motorcycle to hospital. The animal died.

In the Lentor case, three people, aged between 17 and 53, were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital conscious. In a photo sent by reader Jason Soon, a car with a badly damaged rear was sideways in the leftmost lane of the road. The wild boar lay motionless beside it.

Responding to media queries, the AVA said wild boars are often sighted near or around forested areas, and it had "received feedback" about areas such as Tuas West, Punggol and Lorong Halus.

Explaining why wildlife, including civet cats, pangolins and wild boars, might emerge on roads, Mr Sivasothi N, a senior lecturer at the National University of Singapore's department of biological sciences, said these foraging animals move between forests looking for new feeding opportunities.

He believes that apart from putting up signs, a holistic approach to installing safety features at vulnerable areas on Singapore's roads would be helpful. He said fences could be installed on some highways adjacent to large forests. These can be designed to prevent wildlife from crossing into dangerous areas and redirect them back to nature areas.

Meanwhile, "traffic calming measures" such as the addition of speed bumps to slow down vehicles should be implemented on smaller roads adjacent to green spaces. "As we green up more of Singapore, these mitigation measures need to be set in place," he said.

Based on the National Parks Board's observations and research, there are an estimated 500 wild boars in Singapore.

These animals are native to Singapore. A female can start reproducing at 18 months of age and produce four to six piglets a year. Their quick reproduction rates, presence of ideal foraging habitats and lack of natural predators contribute to their population growth.

Environmental consultant Ong Say Lin believes in effective, long-term, natural measures such as the removal of food sources from areas adjacent to nature areas. "This may help discourage animals from venturing beyond forested habitats," he said. Wild boars are omnivorous, but they feed mainly on seeds, tubers, young plants and small insects.

A traffic advisory issued by the Traffic Police said motorists are advised to give their full attention, travel within the speed limits, stay alert to their surroundings and to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front.

Singapore Safety Driving Centre's training manager Gerard Pereira believes that caution signs will help, noting that while wild boar accidents are not as common, the danger lies in how "strapping" and heavy the animal is compared to other stray wildlife.

He said: "Like how it is in other countries - cows appearing on roads in Malaysia and kangaroos in Australia - caution signs warning motorists about vulnerable areas could help alert them so that they will be more cautious.

"It is worrying for motorists, especially if you are driving at a normal speed. If you try to avoid the animal, you will probably be hit by another vehicle or drive off the road. Smaller vehicles, especially light motorcycles, are also likely to fly upon impact."

• Additional reporting by Fabian Koh


What to do if a wild boar gets caught in your headlights
Road safety experts also urged authorities to put up warning signs along roads with frequent wild boar sightings.
Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 30 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE: In the wake of two traffic accidents in as many days involving wild boars, road safety experts urged motorists who encounter the animals on the road to brake and avoid swerving out of lane.

In the first accident on Thursday morning, two people were injured after a wild boar showed up on the Ayer Rajah Expressway.

On Friday morning (Sep 29), three people were injured in a car accident involving a wild boar at Lentor Avenue.

"If you see the animal there, you can slow down and warn the car behind," Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay told Channel NewsAsia.

"If the animal comes suddenly, swerving to the side might cause a fatal accident if you go to the oncoming lane and there's a car on the other side of the road."

The Automobile Association of Singapore (AA Singapore) said through a spokesman that motorists should "step hard" on the brakes and try to keep in lane when animals get in the way.

The car's anti-lock braking system will then kick in, ensuring the driver can steer clear of the obstacle without skidding.

However, swerving might cause you to hit a vehicle on your side, the spokesman cautioned. "You have to be alert, slow down your speed and apply defensive driving tactics."

On occasions when there is too little time to react, both experts said a collision is unavoidable.

"I’m not insinuating that you have to kill the animal," Mr Tay said, stressing that any evasive action would depend on the driver's reflexes. "To save the human being, you have to make a decision."

The AA Singapore spokesman added that in such cases, head-on collisions should be avoided. "If you have no choice but to hit the animal, try to hit it at an angle so you reduce the possibility of the animal going through your windscreen."

If the collision occurs on an expressway, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal said motorists should park or pull over somewhere for their own safety first, before calling the Land Transport Authority (LTA), as the removal or rescue of the animal "would need traffic control".

"For smaller roads, they can call ACRES if the wild animal is still alive. If dead, they can report (it) to the National Environment Agency for removal," she added.

In response to Channel NewsAsia's queries on the recent wild boar accidents, the police advised motorists to "give their full attention while travelling on roads and observe road safety at all times".

"Motorists should travel within the speed limits, stay alert to their surroundings and to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front," the police added.

WILDLIFE CROSSING SIGNS NEEDED

Nevertheless, experts said that authorities should put up warning signs along roads with frequent wild boar sightings.

"If they know that there are certain animals around, they should put up signs to warn motorists," Mr Tay said, citing the example of Australia's wildlife road warning signs.

While the AA Singapore spokesperson acknowledged that animal crossings in Singapore are not common, he believes action should be taken after the recent accidents.

"Some kind of sign has to be put up to alert motorists," he said. "It's good to create awareness that when you drive along a road with bushes on both sides, animals might run out."

LTA said on its One Motoring website that the animal warning sign is used to warn drivers to slow down and beware of animals.

Channel NewsAsia understands that both roads involved in the recent accidents do not have this sign.

Ms Boopal said hotspots for wildlife crossing include Mandai Road, Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE), Seletar Expressway and Upper Thomson Road.

"These areas are usually flanked by forested areas, which provide habitats (for) these animals, and they may have to cross man-made barriers such as roads to get to the other side for resources," she said.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said in an advisory that the "increase in the population of wild boars may result in a higher frequency of human-wild boar conflict as they wander into parks, public roads and residential areas".

While the police and ACRES said they do not keep track of the number of road accidents specifically involving wildlife, Ms Boopal wants measures put in place to reduce instances of wild animals getting hit by cars.

"Buffer zones and barriers between new developments and traffic zones are important," she said, highlighting wildlife crossing signs, speed reduction markings and wildlife corridors as other possible measures.

Existing corridors include the Eco-Link@BKE. The Eco-Link at Mandai, which will be ready by 2019, allows wildlife to travel safely across Mandai Lake Road.

Ms Boopal added: "In the bigger picture, environmental impact assessment is essential to understand the impact of developments on wildlife and their movements, so mitigation measures can be put in place."

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