Parks board gears up to start culling wild boar

Move to rein in numbers should help safeguard residents, protect forest
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 19 Oct 12;

NParks has built a metal enclosure in the Lower Peirce area to trap wild boar (above). Its officers have observed two herds in the area with 80 to 100 animals in total. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

PREPARATIONS are under way to cull wild boar in the Lower Peirce area.

When asked, the National Parks Board (NParks) told The Straits Times that it had built an enclosure there and was in the process of trapping the animals.

It declined to provide further details.

When The Straits Times visited the spot yesterday, two fenced areas, each slightly smaller than half a basketball court, could be seen. They were connected by a fenced passageway.

There was no sign of the animals.

Near the enclosure were "do not enter" signs.

NParks had also put up a sign nearby in Old Upper Thomson Road to warn drivers about the possibility of wild boar crossing the road.

In August, NParks said the animals would be rounded up, and vets would sedate them with dart guns and euthanise them with drug injections.

It declined to comment on the number of wild boar it wants to cull in the area.

The agency has said that, based on numerous studies done in other countries, there should be no more than seven wild boar in the 1.5 sq km Lower Peirce area in a balanced eco-system.

But its officers have observed two herds in the area with 80 to 100 animals in total.

NParks conservation director Wong Tuan Wah has said the animals pose a safety risk to residents and that culling is also necessary to protect the Lower Peirce forest.

The agency has documented damage caused by the animals to the forest's seedlings and tree saplings, which affects the forest's regeneration.

A boar also attacked people in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in June.

Wild boar are native to Singapore but were thought to be extinct until about a decade ago.

Their numbers tend to grow exponentially because they reproduce quickly. Left unchecked, they could damage forests because they feed on seeds, young plants and even some small animals.

Mr N. Sivasothi, 46, a lecturer at the National University of Singapore's Department of Biological Sciences, said: "Some management of the wild boar population here is inevitable because they have no natural predators here and can move between forest patches."

However, he added, Singapore's eco-systems are complex, and more research into wild boar ecology, including their numbers and feeding patterns, is needed. "Undergraduate student research has contributed to greater understanding and can continue to do so," he said.

He will give a talk on wild boar at the Science Centre tomorrow morning. It is open to the public and admission is free, but those who want to attend must register at

NParks has said it will continue to explore other ways of controlling the Lower Peirce boar population, for instance, by removing food sources. However, it did not rule out more culling in future if the numbers continue to grow.

It also plans to hire a manager to help monitor animals, including wild boar, sambar deer and banded leaf monkeys, in the nature reserves. This will involve identifying where they are found, estimating their populations and tracking their movements and behaviour.

Such efforts are not new, but the manager will be given a nine-month contract to help streamline the operations and improve how they are coordinated, NParks said.

Both wild sambar deer and banded leaf monkeys are rare here, with estimates of the deer population ranging from 20 to 30.

Dr Shawn Lum, president of the Nature Society here, has called the banded leaf monkey "possibly the rarest and one of the most threatened species of larger animals here".

Meanwhile, wild boar sightings have become more common in other parts of the country.

Some residents in Sengkang told The Straits Times they had spotted the animals in the forest and field near Pei Hwa Secondary School in Fernvale.

Said administrative assistant Alicia Mak, 33, a resident there who saw one last week: "It looked quite big, but it stayed near the forest, so it was not so scary."