Met a wild boar? NParks to show how to coexist with wildlife

What do you do if you find turtle eggs on a beach? How can you go for a walk in a nature reserve without fear of being harassed by macaques? What should you do when you encounter a wild boar?

These are some of the questions being asked following a spate of wildlife encounters here. The most recent was when a young girl was nipped by an otter on Dec 30.

To help people understand and learn how to coexist with Singapore's native wildlife, the National Parks Board (NParks) will conduct a six-month programme for those aged between 16 and 30.

NParks, which announced this yesterday, is working with the youth wing of Biodiversity Roundtable, a group of scientists and naturalists who study Singapore's native wildlife, on the initiative.

The Biodiversity Challenge aims to teach participants the importance of coexisting harmoniously with wildlife, and how to do so. About 80 people have signed up.

There will be workshops, seminars and training sessions for participants to shadow researchers and naturalists studying various animals, as well as park managers.

The five focus animals will be otters, macaques, wild boars, turtles and civets.

In the past year, there have been many encounters with such animals. Last October, a man suffered cuts when a wild boar charged at him in Hillview Avenue.

The Biodiversity Challenge will be launched tomorrow by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee at a seminar about human-wildlife interactions in Singapore.

Mr N. Sivasothi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore, said the challenge was an exciting programme. "The participant will gain a foothold in learning about the intersection of environment, people and wildlife and be provided with the opportunity to share what they have learnt with family, friends and the public."

Audrey Tan

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline Met a wild boar? NParks to show how to coexist with wildlife. Subscribe