NParks takes stiff action against feeding of wild animals

Four people fined $2,500 each for feeding wild boars in Lorong Halus

A wild boar spotted at Lorong Halus on Tuesday. NParks says feeding and irresponsible discarding of food may lead the animals to associate humans with food. This raises the likelihood of them seeking humans and may see them wandering in urban areas s
A wild boar spotted at Lorong Halus on Tuesday. NParks says feeding and irresponsible discarding of food may lead the animals to associate humans with food. This raises the likelihood of them seeking humans and may see them wandering in urban areas such as roads. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Nineteen people have been summoned for feeding wild boars under the enhanced Wildlife Act, as the authorities take a tougher stance towards feeding wildlife.

Eight of these individuals, aged between 20 and 51, were charged in court yesterday for feeding the native mammals in Lorong Halus.

Four of them pleaded guilty and were each fined $2,500.

Two cases were adjourned to Feb 3 and the remaining two intend to plead guilty on Feb 24.

First-time offenders can be fined up to $5,000 and repeat offenders face fines of not more than $10,000 under the Wildlife Act.

The rest will be charged over the next two weeks, said the National Parks Board (NParks).

This is the first time it has taken so many people to court, after stiffer regulations to deter the public from feeding wildlife came into force on June 1 last year. The 19 people were caught giving bread or dog food to the wild boars during inspection rounds by NParks staff between Nov 26 and Dec 7.

The incidents occurred a few kilometres from Sungei Api Api Park where a woman was injured by a wild boar while walking home on Nov 17. The incident left her with lacerations on her left leg and face.

Feeding and irresponsible discarding of food likely habituated the wild boars, which can weigh up to 100kg, to associate humans with food, said NParks.

This increases the likelihood of them seeking humans and may lead them to venture into urban areas such as roads, it added.


(Clockwise, from top left) Ow Congyang, Ong Jue Ying, Soh Cheng Luan, Miko Neo Hwee Li, Balu A/L Bala Raman, Ganga Devi Poobalan, Marcus Sim Jing Wei and Lee Jun Rong Jovan were charged in court on Jan 13, 2021. PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG

When The Straits Times visited the Lorong Halus Park Connector on Tuesday, 10 wild boars were seen approaching passing motorists.

While NParks has managed wild boar populations through means such as removing oil palms which the animals have a preference for, they may still pose a safety hazard to the public.

If wild animals turn aggressive due to constant feeding, they may have to be culled for public safety, said NParks.

Since June, it has identified several feeding hot spots and taken action against 62 people, with more than 20 taken to court for feeding wild boars, birds and monkeys.

They include a man who fed wild hornbills at Loyang Way Food Village for about six months. He was issued a notice of composition for $200.

NParks is also investigating a man for feeding more than 10 wild hornbills at a condominium.

Outreach and education efforts to raise awareness of the harm caused by feeding will be stepped up, added the statutory board.

Among these plans is a partnership with the National Environment Agency and Singapore Food Agency to reduce food sources for wildlife at establishments such as hawker centres and coffee shops.

Another plan will see three young people, mentored by NParks, studying the public perception of feeding wildlife to develop initiatives that encourage human-wildlife coexistence by the third quarter of this year.

NParks reminds the public that if they encounter a wild boar, they should remain calm and move slowly away from the animal.

They should keep a safe distance and not corner or provoke it.

If the public come across adult wild boars with piglets, they should keep a distance and leave the animals alone, as the adult boars are potentially aggressive and may attempt to defend their young.

Members of the public can call the Animal Response Centre on 1800-476-1600 to report any wild boar encounters.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2021, with the headline 'NParks takes stiff action against feeding of wild animals'. Subscribe