The following is my feedback submitted via the survey form regarding wild animals in Pasir Ris Estate, Singapore.
The context of the wild boar attack on a woman in Sungei Api Api Park on 17 Nov 2020 must be established.
Firstly, the incident happened near Pasir Ris Park, which is being developed for housing and is also the natural habitat of the wild boars.
Secondly, the woman wasn’t carrying any foods, so it is highly unlikely that prior human feeding (if any) had caused it to become aggressive towards humans. The recent incident of the wild boar checking out a cyclist’s bicycle basket for food in Pulau Ubin also shows that wild boars are likely to be curious rather than aggressive when foods are made available in their presence.
Thirdly, wild boars seldom venture out of the forests or natural habitats unless there is some disturbance to their homes because they can easily find food in the forests. For example, the clearing of Lentor-Tagore forest for housing development since 2017 has resulted in a number of wild boars venturing out and crossing the roads nearby and becoming roadkill.
Last but not least, both incidents of wild boar attacks in Punggol and Pasir Ris in 2018 and 2020 respectively took place in the areas where deforestation was taking place nearby. Nowhere in our history have wild boars become aggressive to the point of harming humans unless the wild boars feel fearful that their lives and/or their homes are being threatened. (See website here for more information)
As we look further back to 2012 when a wild boar ventured out from Lower Peirce Reservoir forest into Bishan Park, it is likely that there was some disturbance going on in the forest. Again, it is unlikely the wild boar was roaming into the park to look for food as there is plenty of food in the forest.
Hence, a multi-pronged approach to resolving human-wildlife conflicts may include:
- Addressing the root cause of human-wildlife conflict, which is deforestation resulting in destruction and encroachment of the natural habitats and causing wildlife to be homeless and wander into residential areas.
- Addressing the secondary cause of the conflict, which is educating the public to keep a respectful distance and not feed the wildlife when encountering them
- Seeking urgently alternative solutions to clearing forests for housing development without endangering our wildlife and their habitats any further, such as by redeveloping existing lands that are under-utilised or abandoned.
For more details, you may refer to my blog link.
What happens in Pasir Ris will have an effect on Tengah forest and Bukit Batok Hillside Park because we have wild boars there as well.
We are all interconnected in this complex ecosystem, just like we are all members of the same body.
When one part of the body suffers, so will the rest of the body, and vice versa.