Pasir Ris residents appreciate the wildlife in their town, survey shows

A wild boar spotted at Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6 on June 11, 2020.
A wild boar spotted at Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6 on June 11, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Pasir Ris residents have spoken, and most of those polled want the wildlife, especially the wild chickens, roaming in their neighbourhood to stay.

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean posted the results of the Survey on Wild Animals in Pasir Ris Estate on Tuesday (Dec 8), after a two-week online poll with 4,688 respondents that ended on Sunday.

The wild chickens captured the heart of 72 per cent of the respondents, who want them to continue to roam free. About one-fifth would like the chickens to remain in the estate, but with the numbers controlled.

Sentiments were, however, mixed when it came to stray dogs and wild boars. About one-third (32 per cent) say to let the wild boars wander as they wish and a tad more (35 per cent) say the same for stray dogs.

Almost 30 per cent would like the dogs and wild boars to remain in Pasir Ris, but in controlled numbers.

Nearly 40 per cent of respondents voted for all wild boars to be removed or relocated from their neighbourhood, and 36 per cent voted the same for the stray dogs.

For other wild animals, half of those polled want the animals to continue to roam freely in their neighbourhood.

Among those who took part in the poll were 4,505 Pasir Ris residents.

SM Teo, leader of the five-MP team for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, posted the online survey on Nov 22, after a wild boar attack in the area the week before.

A wild boar had charged at a 50-year-old woman in Sungei Api Api Park on Nov 17 and knocked her down. She suffered lacerations on her left leg and face.

SM Teo, in announcing the survey results on his Facebook page, said they have been sent to the National Parks Board (NParks).

"Many residents also commented that we should have more education efforts on interactions between humans and wild animals," he added.

His team welcomes the offer by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) to work with NParks to help inform Pasir Ris residents and park users about such interactions.

Acres's deputy chief executive Kalai Vanan said it is good to see that most respondents wanted the animals to remain.

Mr Kalai also noted there is an ongoing effective islandwide Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage programme on dogs, "which is a humane long-term solution to the stray dog population compared to simply removal."

Two weeks ago, SM Teo visited the resident who was injured by the wild boar.

"She has returned home after several days in hospital and is recovering, but still requires some medical procedures in the coming weeks," he said in his Facebook post.

A wild boar had charged at a 50-year-old woman in Sungei Api Api Park on Nov 17 and knocked her down. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MADAM YU, ST FILE

The resident and her family have lived in Pasir Ris for 20 years.

"She hopes that park users do not feed the animals; and that we can all work together for the park to be safer, especially for the elderly and young children," he added.

Some Pasir Ris residents, like investor relations manager Janet Chia, 31, said the findings did not surprise her as wild boars and stray dogs can be perceived as more intimidating compared to wild chickens.

Undergraduate Teoh Xin Yi, 22, said some of her family members had been chased by stray dogs while cycling at a park connector in Pasir Ris.

"Despite the negative encounter, we enjoy the wildlife around us. My dad enjoys watching the wild boars roaming, but from a distance."

SM Teo, meanwhile, emphasised that animals should not be fed.

"Feeding the animals encourages them to approach humans for food. Feeding also provides them more food than the normal environment can support."