Giant trap to control Javan Myna population trialed in Potong Pasir

Vanessa Lim Channel NewsAsia 28 Dec 18;

SINGAPORE: A new method to control the Javan Myna population by trapping them in a giant net and culling them using carbon dioxide was being trialed in Potong Pasir, following complaints by residents about the noise made by such birds.

The "roost net system" was installed on Thursday (Dec 27) near Block 146 Potong Pasir Avenue 1, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA). It has since been taken down and AVA said it will look into deploying the system in other areas where required.

There are currently about 2,800 mynas roosting in the area, said AVA, adding that the non-native, invasive bird species can cause hygiene and noise issues.

They can also pose a threat to native bird species as they compete for nesting and food resources.


Potong Pasir's Member of Parliament Sitoh Yih Pin said he started receiving feedback and complaints from residents about the noise about two years ago.

The town council had previously engaged AVA to explore solutions to manage the situation.

These include pruning Angsana trees near homes to disrupt the roosting of mynas, as well as a four-day trial in 2017 using lasers to deter mynas from their roost trees.

These measures, however, had "limited" success, said Mr Sitoh.

In response to Channel NewsAsia's queries, AVA said on Friday that the laser method was not a feasible long-term solution as it worked only when its officers were present daily to point lasers at the mynas when they returned to roost.

"It was observed that the mynas would return after we stopped pointing lasers at their roost trees. It was also possible that mynas would become de-sensitised to the lasers following repeated application," AVA added.

It appears the bird situation has worsened.

"Around September this year, the mynas migrated to the nearby Potong Pasir heartland area after the trees in Upper Serangoon Road were hard-pruned," said Mr Sitoh.

"Since then, we received feedback and complaints about similar myna noise disturbances from residents living along Potong Pasir Avenue 2, Woodsville Close and Leicester Road," he said, adding that about 1,000 households have been affected by the noise from the birds.

Apart from the trialing the roost net system, AVA said the National Parks Board is exploring the possibility of replacing existing trees with those with structural forms that are less preferred by the birds, such as trees with crowns that are less dense.

Managing such species of birds requires a "holistic approach", AVA said, adding that the public should dispose of food scraps properly and avoid feeding the Javan Mynas.

Source: CNA/jt(gs)

Major intervention to tackle mynah issue
'Roost net' tested in Potong Pasir to remove roosting birds, after failure of other efforts
Rachel Au-Yong Straits Times 29 Dec 18;

A mynah problem in Potong Pasir has required major intervention.

With more than 2,800 birds roosting in the area, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) tested a "roost net" on an Angsana tree in Potong Pasir Avenue 2 on Thursday. A giant covering placed over a tree, it allows birds to enter the net and roost on the tree, but prevents them from coming out.

On Thursday evening, officers removed the net with the birds, which were then "humanely euthanised with carbon dioxide", an AVA spokesman said.

Since January, the AVA has received 20 complaints from Potong Pasir residents about the Javan mynahs - a non-native, invasive bird species that, in large numbers, poses a threat to native bird species when they compete for nesting and food resources.

Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin had filed two parliamentary questions this year about the noise from the birds, described by a retiree who wanted to be known only as Mrs Chua as "the worst alarm clock known to man".

He has filed a third question for the Parliament sitting next month, asking the AVA to give a timeline on when the issue can be resolved.

NParks is looking at replacing the roosting trees with ones whose "structural forms are less preferred by the Javan mynahs", like trees with less dense crowns... People can also do their part by not feeding the birds and disposing of food scraps properly, the AVA spokesman said.

It is not yet known how successful the net will be, but other efforts have so far failed to solve the problem.

In September, the National Parks Board pruned several Angsana trees in Upper Serangoon Road to prevent the birds from roosting on them, but this only drove them farther into the Potong Pasir heartland, residents told The Straits Times. The year before, the AVA used laser pointers over four days to deter mynahs from roosting near Potong Pasir MRT station.

The laser beams, with a power output of up to five milliwatts, are aimed around the birds to scare them away, rather than kill them.

But the method worked only when officers used the lasers. The mynahs would return later.

"It is possible that the mynahs became de-sensitised to the lasers," the spokesman said, adding that the method was not feasible.

The AVA has been working with Jalan Besar Town Council - which Potong Pasir is part of - to tackle the problem for two years.

Managing the problem "requires a holistic approach", including removing food sources and modifying the birds' habitat, she said.

She added that NParks is looking at replacing the roosting trees with ones whose "structural forms are less preferred by the Javan mynahs", like trees with less dense crowns.

She said people can also do their part by not feeding the birds and disposing of food scraps properly.