20 men activated to look for wild boar after two people hurt in Saturday attacks

20 men activated to look for wild boar after two people hurt in Saturday attacks

Following wild boar attacks on Saturday (Feb 20), 20 men have been activated to look for the wild boar involved.

SINGAPORE: Following wild boar attacks on Saturday (Feb 20), 20 men have been activated to look for the wild boar involved, said Punggol West Member of Parliament Sun Xueling.

"My heart goes out to the two persons hurt by a wild boar in Punggol last night," said Ms Sun in a Facebook post on Sunday night.

"I hope they recover soon and that they will also recover from the trauma of the incident."

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that they received two separate calls for assistance - the first was at about 9.10pm at 308B Punggol Walk, and the second at 9.30pm at 310A Punggol Walk.

Both people were taken to Sengkang General Hospital, said SCDF.

Ms Sun said that she had been in contact with the National Parks Board (NParks) and the police since the night before, with both parties providing her updates throughout the day.

She added that the men were continuing to search for the boar to ensure it did not go near residents and several signs have been put up along the waterway by NParks to advise residents on what to do when encountering a wild boar.

In response to CNA's queries, NParks director of wildlife management and outreach How Choon Beng on Monday said the agency was alerted to the incidents on Saturday evening.

A team of 20 NParks officers and contractors were activated to patrol the area, search for the wild boar and prevent further human-wildlife conflict, said Mr How.

The search continued through the weekend and there were no sightings of the wild boar in the area, he added.

NParks said it will continue patrolling the area, and the wild boar will be trapped and removed from the area "in view of its tendency to stray into publicly accessible areas in search of human sources of food and the potential threat that they pose to public safety".

"NO REASON TO ATTACK PEOPLE"

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) told CNA on Monday that they were not involved with the search for the boar.

The wildlife rescue group said that wild boars have "no reason to attack people", as they are "prey animals" themselves.

"As prey animals (such as deers), their first response to a threat or danger is to flee and run as fast as they can," said ACRES. 

"Most often, such charging incidents happen because something spooked the pig, could be a vehicle, sounds, a dog or other animals." 

The search for the boar by the 20 men is a reactive measure, said ACRES, adding that locating the animal to prevent further incidents is what can be done at this point.

Understanding wild boars' behaviour can also come in handy when encountering one, said ACRES.

A tip to remember when encountering a wild boar is to to move away from the line of charge - as wild boars have poor vision, they dash through anything in their way when running in fear.

"They are not trying to target and attack human beings," added ACRES.

ILLEGAL FEEDING MAY CAUSE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR: NPARKS

NParks conducts population surveys and research studies throughout Singapore's nature areas to "closely monitor" the changes in wild boar populations, and to analyse the habitat and landscape factors that affect wild boar occupancy, according to Mr How.

"The work also identifies areas for conservation and targets spots where there is possibility of high human-wild boar conflict for mitigation and management," he said.

According to NParks, "animal conflict mitigation measures" may then be implemented. The agency may also implement "habitat modification", such as the removal and replacement of oil palms with native plant species.

Another conflict management option is through outreach and engagement programmes to educate the public not to feed wildlife.

"Despite these efforts, illegal feeding may lead to situations where wild boars may pose a safety hazard to the public and thus need to be relocated or culled humanely," said Mr How.

"For instance, intentional feeding or irresponsible discarding of food alters the natural foraging behaviour of wildlife and habituates them to human presence and relying on humans for an easy source of food."

Mr How added: "This results in wildlife having an increased propensity to approach humans for food and may lead to them venturing into urban areas in search of human sources of food. This includes wandering onto roads and posing a potential danger to motorists and to themselves as well as displaying aggressive behaviour towards people they may come across.

"If wildlife turn aggressive due to constant feeding, they may have to be put down to safeguard public safety."

READ: Four fined, total of 19 people face charges for feeding wild boars near location of recent Pasir Ris attack

Four people were fined in January for feeding wild boars at Lorong Halus, not far from a park in Pasir Ris where a wild boar attack took place last year.

Members of the public can report wild boar encounters by calling the NParks Animal Response Centre at 1800-476-1600.

Source: CNA/ic(ac)

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