Culling should not be standard part of wildlife management

The reason there are more boars is that urban developments have caused the homes of these wild animals to be destroyed ("More boar sightings reported in Punggol / Culling to control number"; yesterday).

Their natural forested areas are decreasing at a rapid rate. 

It is more worrying that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority is still resorting to culling, rather than studying humane options such as wildlife management and conservation.

It is important that the authorities continue to monitor the wild boar population.

But it is more pertinent to educate the public about the misconceptions that they may have about wild boars.

Also, it is crucial that the public not feed these animals, as this blunts their instinct to naturally forage for food. They will then become dependent on humans and encroach into residential areas.

It is worrying that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority is still resorting to culling, rather than studying humane options such as wildlife management and conservation.

Wildlife management should be advocated, as every species is unique and should not be taken for granted.

The authorities must work with the National Parks Board to not clear the palm and rubber trees that form part of these wild boars' diet.

Rather, they should be planting more of such trees in the boars' habitat, or look at sterilisation.

This will allow them to have more food sources in their own habitat and would prevent them from crossing their natural boundaries to forage for other food sources.

Illegal poaching activities must not be tolerated. The authorities need to come down hard on illegal poachers. If necessary, harsher punishments should be meted out to those who flout the rules.

Wildlife advisory signs should be erected and closed-circuit television cameras set up as a deterrence against poaching.

The issue of wild boars as a public nuisance and threat to safety is largely due to humans encroaching into their territory.

Perhaps, the zoning of existing forested areas is necessary to protect the different wildlife species.

Regular maintenance of nature reserves and reservoir trails must be stepped up.

I hope that more can be done to increase people's tolerance and compassion for the unique biodiversity that Singapore has.

Darren Chan Keng Leong 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'Culling should not be standard part of wildlife management'. Print Edition | Subscribe