Hunt for bull missing after escaping from farm's pen

Clockwise from left: A search party looking for the missing bull, called Ganesha, on the premises of Viknesh Dairy Farm in Lim Chu Kang yesterday; the facade of the farm; and other cattle kept there. The missing bull is one of a herd of 36 at the far
A search party looking for the missing bull, called Ganesha, on the premises of Viknesh Dairy Farm in Lim Chu Kang yesterday (above); the facade of the farm; and other cattle kept there. The missing bull is one of a herd of 36 at the farm, and the authorities say it could have made its getaway through a break in the fencing surrounding the property. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Clockwise from left: A search party looking for the missing bull, called Ganesha, on the premises of Viknesh Dairy Farm in Lim Chu Kang yesterday; the facade of the farm; and other cattle kept there. The missing bull is one of a herd of 36 at the far
A search party looking for the missing bull, called Ganesha, on the premises of Viknesh Dairy Farm in Lim Chu Kang yesterday; the facade of the farm; and other cattle kept there (above). The missing bull is one of a herd of 36 at the farm, and the authorities say it could have made its getaway through a break in the fencing surrounding the property. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Clockwise from left: A search party looking for the missing bull, called Ganesha, on the premises of Viknesh Dairy Farm in Lim Chu Kang yesterday; the facade of the farm; and other cattle kept there. The missing bull is one of a herd of 36 at the far
A search party looking for the missing bull, called Ganesha, on the premises of Viknesh Dairy Farm in Lim Chu Kang yesterday; the facade of the farm; and other cattle kept there. The missing bull is one of a herd of 36 at the farm, and the authorities say it could have made its getaway through a break in the fencing surrounding the property (above). ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

S'pore Food Agency leading search for young bovine; public told not to approach animal

A young bull has continued to evade the authorities and its owner, two days after it escaped from its pen in a Lim Chu Kang dairy farm on Tuesday.

About 15 officers from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and National Parks Board (NParks) searched for the black-and-white animal at Viknesh Dairy Farm to no avail yesterday.

And while the farm's 78-year-old owner, who gave his name as Mr Manikandan, is bullish that Ganesha remains on his 2.8ha land, the authorities say it is possible the two-year-old bovine could have made its getaway through a break in the fencing which surrounds the property.

The SFA, which is leading the search efforts and has alerted farms in the vicinity to keep a lookout, has urged the public not to approach the animal.

Ganesha, named after the elephant-headed Hindu deity widely revered as the remover of obstacles, is one of a herd of 36 at the farm. The cattle are bred for milk and also take part in religious ceremonies such as temple openings. Ganesha has even been out for a housewarming ceremony, to bless the home, said Mr Manikandan.

When the farm's employees realised Ganesha was not in his pen on Tuesday morning, the SFA was informed. Mr Manikandan said: "The bull is still on our farm, not in the public or on open roads. The authorities are helping us with the search in the jungle."

But last night, SFA said in a statement: "There is a possibility that the bull has ventured out of the farm's premises as there was a break in the farm's fencing... SFA and NParks continued the search of the vicinity, including within Viknesh's premises, today. The search is ongoing."

The farm, located in the forested Lim Chu Kang Lane 8A, is about the size of four football pitches.

 
 

Mr Thanikodi Iswaran, manager of the nearby Dairy Folks farm - one of the three in Lim Chu Kang - said cattle are unlikely to venture far from their herd.

"Bulls are strong animals so they might break out of their pens, although that is not a common occurrence," he said. "Even if they do break out of the barns, there are 2m-high fences around the farm that will prevent them from going on the main roads."

Environmental consultant Tony O'Dempsey said that the bull posed little danger to the public.

"I don't know why everyone is so kanchiong (worried). Bulls are generally gentle animals. Those in Singapore are not wild and are used to having humans around them," he said.

Reports of escaped animals are uncommon.

In 2014, The New Paper reported that an African wild dog escaped from its enclosure at the Singapore Zoo, causing the temporary closure of the zoo's main entrance.

In 2005, a jaguar from the zoo escaped briefly through a small hole used by zookeepers to throw meat into the enclosure. It was later sedated and recaptured.

  • SFA has urged the public to report sightings of Ganesha to the Animal Response Centre on 1800-476-1600.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Hunt for bull missing after escaping from farm's pen'. Print Edition | Subscribe