In the past three years, 682 enforcement notices were issued for pigeon feeding offences, Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Sun Xueling said on May 8, 2019.
This was in response to a parliamentary question posed by Mountbatten GRC MP Lim Biow Chuan on the number of notices issued to pigeon feeders, and whether other measures by the ministry could be introduced as deterrent.
Public education is key
Current measures implemented by the National Parks Board (NParks) include the installation of CCTV cameras to catch perpetrators, as well as conducting surveillance at identified pigeon feeding hot spots.
Sun mentioned that to carry out more targeted enforcement operations, NParks also works together with town councils to put up notices calling for information, according to Sun's speech.
Public education was another strategy in place to deter pigeon feeding, Sun stressed, and town councils were working together with the National Environment Agency (NEA) to carry it out.
Advisories, posters and outreach events were some methods used to educate residents on the environmental and hygiene implications of pigeon feeding, in addition to community and grassroots leaders helping to spread the message.
NEA also ensures food waste is properly managed at food centres and coffee shops, and carry out enforcement against littering to reduce the availability of food sources for pigeons.
Pigeon feeding is an offence under the Animals and Birds (Pigeons) Rules, and those caught are liable for a fine of up to S$500.
Culling not the first option
On not resorting to culling pigeons which was brought up by Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng, Sun pointed out that that matter was currently being handled by the town councils.
Sun said that culling was not the go-to response, stating that town councils' "first opinion is probably not to cull".
She added that there were various alternative strategies managing "such local issues", and aimed to develop a more "holistic" solution towards the problem of pigeon feeding.
"Culling is just but one part of it, I think people would much rather not like to do if they don't have to... There are various other measures that we are looking into and trying out and indeed where effective, we will try to roll it out to different communities and see how we can develop a holistic solution towards this issue we face."
A video on April 10 of pigeons being killed in a culling exercise at Hougang was met with displeasure online.
The pigeons were fed poisoned bait and then stuffed into trash bags while still alive.
According to a separate article by CNA, pigeon culling is usually carried out in response to feedback or complaints by residents.
Although feeders may think they are doing good by feeding pigeons, their actions would only result in large congregations of the birds in one area, and encouraging pigeon population growth.
Top photo from Kautsar Nurahmad, Flickr and CNA