Punggol wild boar caught, euthanised after dramatic chase on Friday

The police, and the National Parks Board (NParks) and NParks contractors were activated to capture the boar. PHOTOS: SUN XUELING/FACEBOOK
A still image from a video taken by a Shin Min reader showing a wild boar crossing a road in the Punggol Walk area on Feb 20, 2021. PHOTO: SHIN MIN READER

SINGAPORE -A wild boar was caught and humanely euthanised because of its aggressive behaviour in two recent incidents, after a dramatic chase in Punggol on Friday (Feb 26) close to where they had occurred.

Residents were relieved at its capture, following two attacks last Saturday (Feb 20) and another on Friday when the animal charged after being spotted hiding.

Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How said that the National Parks Board had trapped a wild boar on Friday afternoon, close to where the two incidents had happened.

"A member of the public had spotted the wild boar hiding in the bushes," he said on Facebook.

National Parks Board (NParks) officers and a police officer secured the area and kept watch. The officers then gave chase when the wild boar charged out of the vegetation and attacked a woman who was in the vicinity, said Mr Tan.

Two NParks officers who were chasing the wild boar managed to free the woman from the animal with the help of a resident. It was then darted by the officers but in the process, one of them was bitten.

The woman and the NParks officer who suffered minor cuts, were attended to.

To locate the animal, NParks had deployed CCTVs, camera traps and traps around the estate.

HDB and the Singapore Land Authority had also erected hoarding around the remaining forest patches to minimise the chances of wild boars roaming into the community, he noted.

SPH Brightcove Video
Dr Adrian Loo, group director of wildlife management at the National Parks Board gives some valuable advice on how we humans should behave should we encounter a wild boar.

The team is continuing its surveillance of the area to ensure public safety.

"NParks colleagues shared with me that the feeding of wildlife whether intentionally or through irresponsible discarding of food is a key reason for such wildlife-human incidents," Mr Tan added.

"Such feeding habituates wildlife to humans and increases the propensity for aggressive behaviour."

In an interview on Friday, Dr Adrian Loo, group director of wildlife management at NParks, elaborated on why the wild boar might have ventured out into an urban space: "The boar could have felt disoriented and lost. It could also have been due to habituation - people were feeding the boar, it got comfortable with humans and looked for humans as a source of food."

Since the Wildlife Act came into force in June 2020, NParks has prosecuted about 20 wild boar feeders who were caught doing so at Lorong Halus.

"I would like to thank the NParks team and their contractors who have been patrolling the area round the clock to search for the wild boar since Saturday," he said.

Member of Parliament for Punggol West SMC Sun Xueling, who also posted the news on Facebook, told The Straits Times that she had asked NParks to continue with stepped up surveillance and patrols.

"I think the community in Punggol will feel more assured knowing that NParks is still monitoring the situation," she said.

Data scientist Kenny Chong, 29, who has lived in Punggol for more than 10 years and regularly encounters boars during his runs around Coney Island, told ST that he now feels safer. "I hope we will find sustainable ways to keep these animals within their habitats as they are part of the natural ecosystem," he said.

NParks said research in 2019 and last year showed that there are between 150 and 200 wild boars in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, the largest of the nature reserves here. This number is within the maximum population size that can be sustained in the area, given the amount of food, water, space and other resources available.

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