Wild boar incident: School takes steps to ensure safety

A female staff member of Punggol Secondary was injured by a wild boar near the school on Tuesday. The school is located a few bus stops away from a forested area that is being cleared for development.
A female staff member of Punggol Secondary was injured by a wild boar near the school on Tuesday. The school is located a few bus stops away from a forested area that is being cleared for development.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY GOH
The boar was trapped in a nearby condominium's rubbish bay, where it was sedated and later released back into Lorong Halus. The injured school employee, who is now in hospital.
The injured school employee, who is now in hospital.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/TORA TORA
The boar was trapped in a nearby condominium's rubbish bay, where it was sedated and later released back into Lorong Halus. The injured school employee, who is now in hospital.
The boar was trapped in a nearby condominium's rubbish bay, where it was sedated and later released back into Lorong Halus. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/TORA TORA

It is working with the authorities; principal reminds students, staff to be vigilant

Punggol Secondary School said it is working with the authorities to ensure the safety of its staff and students, a day after a female staff member was injured by a wild boar on Tuesday.

The principal, Mr Benedict Keh, said yesterday that staff and students have also been reminded to be vigilantabout their surroundings.

The staff member is now in hospital, Mr Keh said, adding: "We will render her continued assistance, including giving her the time to recover from her wounds."

The woman, in her 30s, was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

Tuesday's incident happened near the school, which is located a few bus stops away from a forested area that is being cleared for development.

The wild boar was later found in a nearby executive condominium and captured by staff from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres). It was sedated and later released back into Lorong Halus, which is a wetland on the east bank of the Serangoon Reservoir, opposite Punggol.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said that the animal likely came from forested areas at the end of Punggol or Coney Island, where boars are known to be present.

AVA added that it has been monitoring the wild boar situation and has not noted any trend of increased sightings in the area.

It was reported earlier that wild boar sightings in Punggol in the first seven months of 2016 doubled to 24 from the previous year.

AVA said it has been working closely with relevant stakeholders, including the National Parks Board, Acres, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and the National University of Singapore, to mitigate encounters with wild boars and ensure public safety.

"Some measures which have been implemented include putting up signage about wildlife crossings at specific locations to warn motorists."

Punggol Secondary students who spoke to The Straits Times said this was the first time they had heard of such an incident happening near the school.

A Secondary 4 student said he first learnt about the incident when his teacher sent a WhatsApp chat group message to the class. Other students said they found out only after reading about it online.

After injuring the school employee, the boar, which weighed about 40kg, fled to the Waterbay executive condominium.

A security guard at Waterbay told Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao that after seeing the boar, he rushed to the security room to close the rubbish bay doors remotely to trap it.

He then called the police.

Two cleaners were in the rubbish bay with the boar briefly, but escaped via the stairs and side door, Wanbao reported.

A Waterbay resident, who did not want to be named, told The Straits Times that he saw the boar being taken away. There was not much of a commotion. He added that he has been living at Waterbay for two years and had not heard of any other similar incident.

Mr Subaraj Rajathurai, director of Strix Wildlife consultancy, said that many pockets of nature had been removed for housing development in recent years.

On how a boar could have ended up some distance away from its forest habitat, he said: "Animals desperately searching for food will wander through areas that used to be their foraging grounds."

Mr Subaraj said Punggol, with its forested areas being cleared, also lacks a "green corridor" which could act as a passage-way for animals to move around without coming into contact with humans.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2018, with the headline 'Wild boar incident: School takes steps to ensure safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe