A total of 19 people will be brought to court for feeding wild boars, the National Parks Board (NParks) revealed in a statement on Jan. 13.
Fed boars bread or dog food
All 19 were caught allegedly feeding the boars bread or dog food at Lorong Halus between Nov. 16 and Dec. 7, 2020.
The individuals were either feeding the boars themselves, or in groups of up to three.
Eight people will be charged today, while the remaining 11 people will be charged over the next two weeks.
Since the amended Wildlife Act in June last year, people caught feeding wildlife face heavier penalties.
First-time offenders can be fined up to S$5,000, while repeat offenders can be fined up to S$10,000.
NParks revealed that this is the first time this number of individuals has been brought to court since the Wildlife Act came into effect.
Thus far, enforcement action has been taken against 62 individuals for wildlife feeding, with over 20 of them being taken to court.
Feeding doesn't help the animals
Feeding wildlife can have detrimental effects on the animals, as it habituates them to the presence of humans.
They become more reliant on humans and might forage less for food themselves, as humans are seen as a convenient source of calories.
Not only can this amplify their populations beyond what is sustainable, wildlife may also start venturing into urban areas in search of food.
This includes animals wandering onto roads, and increasing incidences of human-wildlife conflict.
The issue has been touchy with wild boars in particular.
Recently, a spate of human-wild boar incidents led to a survey asking Pasir Ris residents how they would want wild boars at Pasir Ris Park to be dealt with.
Such feeding involves not only wild boars, but also other animals such as hornbills.
More outreach efforts
To increase awareness of the problems with wildlife feeding, NParks has ramped up its outreach and education efforts.
Aside from installing educational signs, standees and posters at feeding hotspots, they have also been working with the National Environment Agency and Singapore Food Agency to reach out to food establishments like hawker centres and coffee shops.
Education at these aforementioned areas would focus on the feeding of birds like mynahs and pigeons, as well as encouraging proper tray return, hygiene and disposal of waste.
The agency has also identified several feeding hotspots throughout Singapore based on the mapping of wildlife distribution and public feedback.
Population surveys and research studies are also being carried out to understand the distribution of wild boars throughout Singapore's nature areas.
"Such studies enable us to closely monitor the changes in wild boar populations, and to analyse the habitat and landscape factors that affect wild boar occupancy. The work also identifies areas for conservation and targets spots where there is possibility of high human-wild boar conflict for mitigation and management. Management options include implementation of animal conflict mitigation measures, habitat modification (eg. removal and replacement of oil palms with native plant species), outreach and engagement programmes to educate the public not to feed wildlife."
If you encounter a wild boar, 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.
Top photo from Teoh Chee Boon / FB and Jnzl / Flickr