Control mynah population too

I applaud the move by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to use bird feed laced with a birth control drug to control the pigeon population ("Drug trial by AVA to curb pigeon population"; Nov 6).

I wonder if this innovative method can also be applied to the Javan mynah.

The yellow-beaked, black Javan mynah is a common sight here, and considered by many to be a public nuisance.

In 2012, it was reported that the AVA had failed in its trial to use a hawk to remove the hundreds of mynahs peppering the Orchard Road shopping belt with their droppings ("Hawk no match for pesky mynahs"; Oct 14, 2012).

At that time, the AVA said it had commissioned a study to determine its next move.

In 2013, news surfaced of Jurong West residents plagued by the incessant noise of thousands of mynahs roosting in the trees every evening and sometimes in the wee hours, causing them to lose sleep ("Mynah birds, major headache"; Aug 8, 2013).

Appeals to the authorities resulted in a stopgap measure of pruning some trees, which merely moved the birds to neighbouring trees.

In my neighbourhood, these pesky birds are seen helping themselves to leftover food in coffee shops.

It is not uncommon to hear of these birds flying into homes and making a nuisance of themselves.

Residents have resorted to hanging reflective discs and life-size replicas of bigger birds outside their windows.

The mynah situation continues to be an issue for many Singaporeans; their droppings present a health hazard and their constant squawks impact our emotional well-being negatively.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has declared the mynah one of the world's most invasive species and one of only three birds that pose a threat to biodiversity, agriculture and human interests.

While we welcome nature and small animals in our habitat, the rampant growth of the mynah population has led to a co-existence that is too close and raucous for comfort.

Could the AVA and National Environment Agency comment on any similar plans to curtail or control the mynah population ?

Neo Lin Chen

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