Drivers, beware that wild boar on NTU roads

Goh Kai Shi & Lim Yi Han Straits Times 29 Mar 11;

WILD boar are a common sight at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). As are snakes - and even endangered pangolins.

Hostel residents often come upon these wild animals roaming free and unmolested on the sprawling grounds of the university in Jurong.

So much so that NTU has recently put up signs warning drivers to be wary of animals crossing the street within the campus' network of roads.

At least two 'Caution! Animals Crossing' signs have been put up - both of them at the Jalan Bahar side entrance, where sightings are most common.

Mr Chan Keng Luck, acting chief building and infrastructure officer at NTU, said: 'As the greenest campus in Singapore, NTU is home to a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. These signs are meant to alert road users to be careful.'

To wildlife enthusiast Ben Lee, 49, the signs are a necessity. He remembers picking up a dead pangolin from Jalan Bahar in 2008 to prevent it from being repeatedly run over. The pangolin is classified as a critically endangered animal in Singapore.

Mr Lee, who founded Nature Trekker Singapore - a non-profit nature organisation - in 2000, would like to see more of such signs around urban Singapore.

'These signs will go some way towards ensuring that future generations will get to see endangered animals like the pangolin,' he said.

Student hostelites along Nanyang Crescent said they have seen small herds of three or four wild boars from their windows.

The animals have even become something of a draw. University shuttle buses have stopped for those on board to admire them, said mari-time studies student Zhang Tianzhe, 22.

Ms Charmaine Yip, 20, an exchange student from Canada who has been at the hostel for three months, has had several sightings.

'The first time I saw them I was quite scared, but after that, I realised they are quite harmless,' she said.

School of Biological Sciences student Corinna Tan, 23, agreed: 'The wild boars seem quite docile and I don't think they pose any threat to us.'

'Wild boars are generally docile by nature, but can become aggressive when they are cornered,' said Mr Tony O'Dempsey, chairman of the Vertebrate Study Group of the Nature Society Singapore.

'The best thing to do when you come face-to-face with them is to avoid them, as with all wild animals,' he added.

It is not too much to ask of wildlife-loving NTU students.

Protect NTU students from roaming wildlife
Straits Times 31 Mar 11;

TUESDAY'S article ('Drivers, beware that wild boar on NTU roads') mentioned sightings of wildlife such as snakes and pangolins at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

NTU said signs were put up to warn drivers to be wary of animals crossing the street. However, I am more concerned about the safety of students who are staying in hostels located close to the forested areas. It can be dangerous if snakes or wild boars wander into the residential areas and attack them.

Frederick Ow