Should they stay or go: What to do with wildlife?

Pasir Ris residents' views sought in survey asking for opinions on wild animals in estate after wild boar attack

A woman was at Sungei Api Api Park in Pasir Ris last Tuesday when a wild boar charged at her and knocked her down, leaving her with lacerations on her left leg and face.
A woman was at Sungei Api Api Park in Pasir Ris last Tuesday when a wild boar charged at her and knocked her down, leaving her with lacerations on her left leg and face.ST FILE PHOTO

Should they remain, be controlled, or removed? With boars, chickens and other wildlife living in our midst, residents in Pasir Ris are now being given a say on whether these animals should go, or stay.

A survey posted by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday is seeking residents' views on what should be done about the wild animals in Pasir Ris, after a wild boar attack in the area last week.

A woman was at Sungei Api Api Park last Tuesday when a wild boar charged at her and knocked her down, leaving her with lacerations on her left leg and face.

The woman, a 50-year-old auditor identified by Shin Min Daily News as Madam Yu, was with her husband in the park off Pasir Ris Drive 3 at around 9.30pm when the attack took place.

In an earlier post on Facebook on Saturday, Mr Teo, who is an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said his team was looking into the issue in consultation with the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Ministry of National Development.

"In the meantime please be on the lookout and take care when you are in that area," he said.

The Survey on Wild Animals in Pasir Ris Estate asked for residents' opinions on wild chickens, stray dogs and wild boars specifically, with an additional category for "other wild animals".

Residents were asked to choose from three options on what to do about each group of animals.

The first was to let them continue to roam free; the second, to let them roam free but with controlled numbers; and the final option was to remove or relocate all such animals from the area.


A wild boar charged at the woman at Sungei Api Api park in Pasir Ris on Nov 17, 2020, leaving her with lacerations on her leg and face. PHOTO: MADAM YU

Pasir Ris residents welcomed the survey but some expressed concern that too much intervention could change the rustic feel of the area.

Healthcare manager Sean Abdullah, 31, a resident of Pasir Ris West for the past 20 years, said that while the survey was important, he hoped it would not result in the removal of all wild animals from the area.

"I really appreciate the wildlife living with us in this town. It is what makes the town unique, because of its balance between the greenery and the urban jungle," he said.

Others, like learning facilitator Eileen Tan, who has lived in the estate for 14 years, emphasised individual responsibility in ensuring safe encounters with wild animals.

"We try not to go to the park wearing the clothes we have on when cooking dinner. We've noticed that strong food smells seem to attract the boars' attention," she said.

Ms Tan, 48, added: "I hope the authorities will consider alternatives to the three actions listed, as I don't think any of them are ideal."

In a statement last Friday, NParks said people who encounter wild boars should remain as calm as possible and move slowly away from the animal. It also advised the public to avoid feeding wild boars, as this might cause them to associate humans with food providers and therefore approach them.

The last reported incident of a wild boar attack was on Aug 28, 2018, near Punggol Secondary School, when a pregnant woman was left with cuts on her right calf.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2020, with the headline 'Should they stay or go: What to do with wildlife?'. Print Edition | Subscribe