Culling wild boar not the answer

Straits Times Forum 13 Jun 12;

IT IS a shame that the National Parks Board (NParks) is looking into culling wild boar ('Crossbows to cull wild boar'; Monday).

The proposal seems arbitrary and unnecessary.

In the absence of quantitative studies on the impact of wild boar on our nature reserves,

and current data on the growth of its population, the herd of 100 boars in the Lower Peirce forested area cannot be regarded as large or threatening.

This is bearing in mind that the animals were once thought to be extinct in mainland Singapore and have been sighted again only recently.

Our respect for wildlife must extend to their survival in their natural habitats. While such habitats are being conserved, we must also ensure that animal species are protected from human predation.

Although an encounter with a wild animal is potentially dangerous, harm is often caused through human provocation and ignorance.

The public needs to have a greater awareness and appreciation of natural animal behaviour, and be more tolerant of the few wild animals that stray into our urban territory.

Culling is just a short-term and ineffective measure to contain the number of wild boar.

As long as there remain breeding pairs, surely the population will continue to grow.

I urge NParks to work with the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society or other animal welfare organisations to implement a more viable, sustainable and humane solution, such as sterilisation or the installation of barriers, to manage the population and movement of wild boar.

Irene Low (Ms)
(This letter carries 57 other names)

More research needed on wild boar
Straits Times Forum 13 Jun 12;

I WAS disheartened to read that the National Parks Board (NParks) is considering using crossbows to cull wild boars ('Crossbows to cull wild boar'; Monday).

Prior to embarking on any population control method, there is a need to first identify and address the underlying causes of any perceived increase in wild boar population.

More research is needed to determine the baseline population figure and the roles wild boars play in our reserve ecosystems.

Increased sightings may not necessarily indicate an increase in population; extensive land clearance and habitat destruction for urban development have displaced much wildlife to the fringes of urbanised areas, and it should come as no surprise that there is increased contact with humans.

Wild boars are important to biodiversity. They are unique fauna in our region, and play an integral role in the ecosystem, principally as seed dispersal agents.

Before we truly understand their function and impact on our reserves and parks, any population control measures targeted at them should be carefully considered.

We need to remember that humans are merely cohabitants of a larger ecosystem and share some of our living spaces with wildlife.

I implore NParks to review its wildlife population control policies.

Dr Chong Shin Min

Explore more humane ways to reduce wild boar population
Straits Times Forum 13 Jun 12;

DO WE have sufficient scientific data to convince us that our native flora and forest ecology are being compromised because of wild boars ('Crossbows to cull wild boar'; Monday)?

Likewise, do we have sufficient data to show how wild boars contribute to our ecosystems, such as by dispersing seeds?

Has a census of wild boars been conducted?

It seems to me that more study needs to be done before culling of wild boar may even be considered.

My discussions with fellow wildlife activists point to the fact that using crossbows as a culling method is inhumane. Numerous reports state that rarely is there a chance of an instantaneous kill, even with experienced archers. Instead, an animal hit with an arrow endures prolonged suffering before it dies.

Alternative methods, like contraception, could be explored.

Also, public education about wildlife needs to be stepped up. Signs such as 'wild animals crossing' should be placed along roads where wild boars have been observed.

And if culling needs to be done as a last resort, surely there are more humane methods. What about sedating the wild boar first?

I am heartened that the National Parks Board is open to considering this.

Vilma D'Rozario (Ms)