Culling wild boars: Explore humane options (The Straits Times Forum, Tuesday 26 June 2012)

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Culling wild boars: Explore humane options

THERE is currently insufficient scientific data to support the proposed culling of wild boars. We are not calling for no action to be taken, but for humane solutions to be explored.

Two reasons were given for culling wild boars, and both have not been properly justified (“Why wild boars have to be culled”; June 16).

The first reason is that the wild boar population is surging, and this has a detrimental impact on our forests.

At a meeting with non-governmental organisations last month, however, the National Parks Board (NParks) stated that the current carrying capacity for wild boars in our forests is 500.

This means that our forests can sustain a maximum of 500 wild boars.

NParks also stated that the current population of wild boars in Singapore is between 200 and 300; this is about half the maximum carrying capacity.

Scientifically, there is no need to cull the wild boars yet.

All other arguments provided, such as the “detrimental impact on our forests”, are based on impressions rather than proper scientific studies.

More studies need to be conducted before a conclusion is made and any action taken.

The second reason given is public safety, which is undoubtedly important.

The reality, however, is that “wild boars are not aggressive by nature, but all wild animals will attack if provoked” .

Culling in response to public safety does not address the root of the problem.

Wild boars will venture out of our forests if we continue to have fruit-bearing plants in the areas bordering our nature reserves. Wild boars simply do not understand that they have to remain in the nature reserves and that they will be killed if they venture out.

To address the issue of public safety, NParks should consider fencing up hot spots where wild boars have been spotted, and erecting signs on the road to urge motorists to slow down.

Other countries have already fenced up their protected areas, and this recommendation has been suggested by the public for the past few years.

We have been working with NParks to clamp down on the poaching of wild boars, and it has been actively destroying wild boar traps found in our forests. It would seem contradictory to now cull the wild boars we fought so hard to protect.

We live in a highly urbanised city and there will be more human-wildlife conflicts. Let us promote tolerance, compassion and respect for other species we share this island with.

Louis Ng
Executive Director
Animal Concerns Research and Education Society

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