Best of our wild blogs: 4 Jun 13

Deep Dredge on Day 15 of the Southern Expedition
from Mega Marine Survey of Singapore

Phytoplankton, cnidarians and crinoids: Mini-talks at the Southern Expedition from Mega Marine Survey of Singapore

Sunday 9 June Tour with Peter Pak
from a.t.Bukit Brown. Heritage. Habitat. History.

Hidden Lives - the Movie
from The Biology Refugia

Manta ray tourism worth 28 times more than killing them for Traditional Chinese Medicine
from news by Jeremy Hance

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20 wild boars culled at Lower Pierce Reservoir since August

Tan Qiuyi Channel NewsAsia 3 Jun 13;

SINGAPORE: Twenty wild boars at the Lower Pierce Reservoir area have been culled since August last year.

Giving this update, NParks said the operation is necessary because the wild boar population has grown sharply.

However, activists said more detailed studies and long-term measures are needed.

Known to dash across roads without warning, authorities said wild boars are accidents waiting to happen.

And their unpredictable nature is a threat to public safety.

In 2012, a stray wild boar crossed into Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, charging at a man and a five-year-old boy. Both were not seriously hurt.

Wild boars can be found in Singapore's nature reserves and many parts of the island.

Public sightings on roads, parks and even residential areas have grown more frequent as their numbers grew in recent years.

Female boars can produce between four and eight piglets a year, and they no longer have natural predators like tigers and leopards to keep the population in check.

But the official culling is limited to the Lower Pierce Reservoir area - and 20 have been caught so far.

Mr Wong Tuan Wah, director of Conservation at NParks, said: "They are mainly between one to three years old, juvenile wild boars. We use cages to trap them, and sedate them, and euthanise them."

Damage to the greenery - from the pigs' trampling and rooting - is evident around Lower Pierce Reservoir.

NParks estimates there are up to 100 wild boars in the Lower Peirce area, based on their observation of two herds.

It says the ideal number for the area is just seven.

Animal welfare activist Ong Say Lin said authorities have not revealed where the basis for this number is from.

Mr Ong has done undergraduate research on wild boars and is currently executive director of ACRES in Laos. "I am not aware of any thorough research that has been going on. I believe the biodiversity community and members of the public in general, would definitely appreciate some transparency here," he said.

Mr Wong added: "This is not a target we're trying to achieve. We're continuing to monitor the situation to assess the risk to public as well as threat to forest and ecosystem, in terms of our operations."

Residents and joggers Channel NewsAsia spoke to were generally tolerant of the wild boars.

"If they could contain them in a certain area, don't let let them rush to the road, that will be very good."

"The monkeys are more of a nuisance than the wild boars."

Animal welfare groups said there's a need for detailed studies to ascertain the number of wild boars in the area.

Ms Corinne Fong, executive director of SPCA, said: "If you get to the numbers and tag the animals, you know exactly the percentage of males there are versus females. Then I believe you can come up with some concrete plan to tackle the population growth. Without that, you're just doing haphazard culling because any animal that walks into the trap gets euthanised. That is not proper."

She said sterilisation should be the long-term solution, even if a level of culling has to be done to control the immediate numbers.

At the same time, replanting the wild boars' food sources deeper into the forest would prevent the boars from venturing out, she added.

NParks said the culling of wild boars will continue, for now.

- CNA/de

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Malaysia: Sabah marine police seize 6,500 turtle eggs

The Star 4 Jun 13;

KOTA KINABALU: Marine police seized about 6,500 turtle eggs in separate raids in the east coast Sandakan district.

The eggs were seized from a pump boat and in plastic bags hidden among some bushes on May 31 and June 1.

Sandakan marine police assistant commanding officer Insp Sri Vikneswaran Renganathan said no arrests were made as several people ran off when they saw the officers.

He said his officers found 3,000 eggs during a raid on a pump boat at about 4am on Friday.

The second seizure was made the next day when 3,500 eggs were found in plastic bags in the bushes.

All the eggs have been taken to the marine base, Insp Vikneswaran added.

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