SINGAPORE - A woman was taken to hospital after being injured when a wild boar ran into her at an HDB block in Yishun on Wednesday evening (March 9).
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that it received a call for assistance at Block 846 Yishun Street 81 at around 6.50pm on Wednesday.
The four-storey block of flats has a row of shops on the ground floor.
Eyewitnesses told The Straits Times that the wild boar, which was "about the size of a dog", hit the glass display of a nearby optical shop after colliding with the woman, and then ran off.
A fruit seller in the block, Mr Lemon Tan, 31, said he was walking back to his store after buying dinner and saw the wild boar emerge from the corridor next to his store.
"I ducked into my store and saw the wild boar run past and collide with a woman and her daughter," he told ST.
Mr Tan said he then heard a loud bang, which he later learnt was due to the wild boar running into the glass storefront of an optical shop nearby.
"After the boar hit the woman, she remained on the ground for a long time. Her daughter was crying very loudly," he added.
"When the paramedics from the SCDF came, I saw them performing chest compressions on the woman before taking her away on a stretcher."
SCDF said the woman was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
A resident of Block 846, who gave her name only as Madam Wang, 71, said she was returning from the Sheng Siong supermarket at Block 845 when she saw the wild boar collide with the woman.
"They (the woman and daughter) looked like they were on their way to buy dinner after work.
"After she was struck, she couldn't stand up. I saw her husband trying to render assistance after the collision."
Madam Wang added that she saw the boar brush past the legs of other passers-by but said that they did not sustain any injury.
It ran off, bleeding, after smashing into the glass shopfront of the optical store, she added.
Bakery worker Vicky Thann, 52, was serving customers at the Daily Fresh bakery, a few units from the optical shop at Block 848, when she noticed the reactions of passers-by.
Ms Thann said: "I saw people walking past the shop suddenly stop in their tracks with panicked looks on their faces. One parent pulled his child aside before I saw the wild boar run past along the corridor next to the shops.
"It was about the size of a dog and ran past quite fast. It was a while later that I realised the boar had hit and injured a woman."
Mr Tan said that it was likely the boar had come from the direction of Block 841, and that it was "a very weird sight" to see a boar in the middle of a busy public area.
Ms Carrie Tan, an MP for Nee Soon GRC who is in charge of the area, said in a Facebook post on Thursday that the incident was "shocking", given the crowded nature of the plaza as well as the tendency of wild boars to avoid such populated areas.
“We have asked our town council estate ambassadors and conservancy cleaning staff to be on the lookout at the adjacent blocks,” she added.
Mr How Choon Beng, director of wildlife management and outreach at National Parks Board (NParks), said that the wild boar was last seen entering the forest in Yishun Park.
Entrances to the park were blocked with barriers and the park was cordoned off with tape on Thursday afternoon, when ST went to the park.
Netting was draped on the trees at an area of the park adjacent to a housing estate.
Policemen carrying clear plastic riot shields stood along a section of Yishun Ring Road marking the park’s boundary, while estate ambassadors were seen directing pedestrians away from a section of the park connector next to the park in case the wild boar were to unexpectedly come charging out.
Ms Anbarasi Boopal, chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said there was not enough information to understand why this boar ended up in such a crowded urban area.
People who find themselves in a situation where a wild boar is running amok should move away from the line of charge to avoid being hit, she added.
"Wild boars have poor vision and are prey animals, so when they are running in fear, they just dash through whatever is in their way. They are often not trying to target and attack human beings."
She added that such incidents would need to be mitigated through a holistic approach, including proper management of food waste and redesigning bins in housing estates.
Greenery that is incorporated close to residential estates attracts wildlife closer to people, she noted. This makes "educating every single resident on wildlife etiquette" a necessity.
Mr How said: “Should members of the public encounter a wild boar, they should remain as calm as possible and move slowly away from the animal. Keep a safe distance and do not corner or provoke the animal.
“If adult wild boars are seen with young piglets, keep a distance and leave them alone, as they are potentially aggressive and may attempt to defend their young.
"Members of the public may call the Animal Response Centre at 1800-476-1600 to report any wild boar encounters.”