Forum: Growing a 'city in nature' needs careful management

In highly urbanised Singapore, it is no surprise that clashes with wildlife often take place. The most recent case involved a wild boar and a woman in Pasir Ris who was injured.

As Pasir Ris residents are now being asked if wild animals should be removed from their area (Should wildlife stay or go? Pasir Ris residents to have a say, Nov 22), it is important to take stock of what this decision means.

For Singapore to see through its ambition of becoming a "city in nature", it is imperative to look at wildlife management holistically and extensively to maintain this balance with urban living. Any decision that is made now will ultimately set a precedent and affect other animals and ecosystems in the city state.

It is thus necessary to develop a comprehensive animal management framework that includes extensive public education to help residents co-exist with wildlife here.

Public education should start from a young age to inculcate respect for nature and for the young to learn not to feed wildlife.

Beyond education, alternative measures should be considered first. For example, barriers can be erected to ring-fence wildlife in their designated niches.

Another way to put residents out of harm's way, specifically in relation to wild boars, could be to cut their dangerous tusks, much like managing the antlers of deer in Nara in Japan. Removal or culling of wildlife should be a last resort.

It is easy to remove wildlife from our midst when they are shrugged off as a mere inconvenience, as seen with the recent removal of chickens in Sin Ming estate (Some chickens in Sin Ming HDB estate to be relocated to Seletar Farm after concerns raised, Oct 8).

However, for Singapore to truly realise its "city in nature" ambition, we must not acknowledge wildlife as a part of the country only when it is convenient to do so. The inconvenient truth is that there is no nature without wildlife.

Ong Yao Min

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