NParks defends wild boar decision (The Straits Times, Saturday 16 June 2012)

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NParks defends wild boar decision

Evidence of environment being damaged, says parks body

By Feng Zengkun

THE National Parks Board has come out to defend its decision to manage the wild boar population in the Lower Peirce area. In a letter to The Straits Times Forum page yesterday, NParks said the decision “was not taken lightly”.

There is “conclusive evidence” of the negative impact of wild boars on the environment, it added.

Mr Wong Tuan Wah, its director of conservation, wrote that the agency’s researchers had found rare native gingers being devoured by the boar.

“We have also been receiving regular feedback from the public, up to five each month, reporting encounters with wild boars.

“Recently, we were notified that a pair of wild boars attacked a pet dog, which subsequently died due to severe injuries,” he said.

Dr Shawn Lum, president of the Nature Society, and two university professors also wrote to The Straits Times Forum page to support NParks’ decision.

Dr Lum said the boars posed a danger to Singapore’s forests because of their tendency to eat the seeds of primary forests .

“If our wild boar numbers continue to increase, and they are already above their natural levels, a century of gradual forest regeneration will be quickly reversed,” he said.

Wild boar densities in the Lower Peirce area are at least 10 times above natural levels, said Dr Lum, who cited available data and ongoing studies.

In a joint letter, two professors from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) also said it was time to cull the wild boar population.

“Vehicular collisions with wild boars are accidents waiting to happen … The chances of boars injuring members of the public are also increasing,” wrote Professor Peter Ng of NUS and Associate Professor Diong Cheong Hoong of NTU.

NParks also clarified that it had never considered the use of crossbows in culling the animal. It added that use of the bow is illegal in the country.

The Straits Times understands that the wild boar issue was discussed at a biodiversity roundtable last night. The event was attended by representatives from various groups including NParks, the Nature Society, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society and the NUS biological sciences department.

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