About 80 boars in Lower Peirce area culled

Feng Zengkun The Straits Times AsiaOne 31 Jul 14;

About 80 wild boars in the Lower Peirce area have been culled, reducing the population there to an estimated 30 to 50 boars.

The National Parks Board (NParks) gave the update last week in response to queries from The Straits Times. It did not give a timeframe for the 80 figure.

NParks conservation director Wong Tuan Wah told The Straits Times last week that the agency is carrying out population studies to assess longer-term measures to manage the wild boar numbers.

"NParks takes a multi-pronged approach to wildlife management, including continual research, enforcement and outreach," he said.

However, "if a wild boar poses any threat to public safety, we will continue with targeted removal if necessary", he added, denying talk that the culling of boars in the area has ceased.

NParks started culling the boars there in 2012 to improve public safety and to reduce the animals' damage to the vegetation. Back then, it pointed to two incidents that year in which wild boars had attacked people in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Pulau Ubin. But some residents in the Lower Peirce area sent a petition to the authorities to prevent the culling, saying these were isolated incidents. Some also questioned if the attacks were provoked.

NParks estimated in 2012 that there were 80 to 100 wild boars in the 1.5 sq km Lower Peirce area. It said that, based on numerous studies done in other countries, there should be no more than seven boars there in a balanced ecosystem.

The NParks has said that after the animals are captured, vets will sedate them with dart guns and euthanise them with drug injections. When The Straits Times visited Lower Peirce yesterday morning, there were few signs of damage caused by wild boars.

Residents said they still see the boars on occasion but fewer seem to be around. Mr Victor Sim, a 67-year-old retiree, said he has not seen the animals in weeks.

Other residents said, however, that the remaining boars appear to have become bolder.

"Sometimes, you see them right in the carpark or in the open areas. They don't seem to be afraid of people at all," said a resident, who declined to be named.

Some of the thick vegetation in the area has also been cleared and replaced with young plants. NParks has said it may manage the boar population by reducing its food sources.