Sterilise wild boars, don’t cull them; Snapped in the neighbourhood; Periodic culling important (The Straits Times Forum, Wednesday 20 June 2012)


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Sterilise wild boars, don’t cull them

IT IS reassuring that the National Parks Board (NParks) will take a holistic approach towards managing the wild boar population (“NParks defends wild boar decision” and “Why wild boars have to be culled”; June 16).

The reappearance of the wild boar thought to be extinct in mainland Singapore is a  valuable addition to our biodiversity, and the impact on our forests is beneficial.

While the main diet of wild boars is vegetation, they also feed on earthworms, snails, insect larvae and small rodents. They control weeds, improve soil aeration, fertility and structure, and unearth dormant seeds that will germinate and contribute to botanical diversity.

In the forested ecosystem, their impact on plant density is short -lived as re -vegetation takes place. The wild boar population is density-dependent and not just controlled by predators such as leopards and tigers in a natural system. How was the census taken on the size of the herd in the Lower Peirce area?

What were the research protocols set on the prediction of population growth that led to the conclusion that the boar density is now at least 10 times above natural levels ?

Does it mean we will have to cull 90 per cent of the herd?

If the population is indeed surging and needs to be managed, culling is not the solution.

NParks should consider alternatives such as contraception. As male boars are generally solitary, it may be easier to capture and neuter them in the first phase of sterilisation.

To deter wild boars from venturing beyond the nature reserves to forage at night, introduce supplementary and diversionary feeding.

Maize and coconuts are readily available and can be used to lure and keep the boars feeding within the reserves. Boars are short -sighted and shy, and tend to avoid people. People and dogs should detour around a boar at a safe distance. Boars do not charge and attack people and there are scant reports of such encounters.

In fact, wild boars are known to be non-aggressive and have even been promoted as tourist attractions in publicly accessible forested reserves.

Public areas where a stray boar is likely to dig can be paved with concrete slabs.

I urge the NParks not to cull the boars. They are our valuable wildlife and deserve to be protected by every means at our disposal.

Irene Low (Ms)

Snapped in the neighbourhood

I HAVE encountered wild boars on the streets while taking part in a street dog project, where we feed and sterilise street dogs to prevent their population from growing (“Why wild boars have to be culled”; last Saturday).

The wild boars are calm, gentle and extremely good-natured. In fact, many of them share their meals with the street dogs we feed. I remain unconvinced that they will harm the public.

Christine Bernadette Ravi (Ms)

 

Periodic culling important

I AGREE that wild boars must be culled (“Why wild boars have to be culled”; last Saturday). I once visited a nature reserve in Queensland, Australia, whose land area was thrice the size of Singapore.

Other than the wallabies in the park, there were three other main types of wild animals – wild boars, wild horses and wild cattle.

The park’s rangers monitored the wild animal population and conducted periodic culling because these creatures were not only destroying nature, but were also potential carriers of anthrax and other deadly diseases.

Wong Vin Seng

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