TODAY: Culling of Lower Peirce wild pigs ‘necessary in the short term’
TODAY reported that the Nature Society (Singapore) has come up with long-term measures to reduce culling of wild pigs in the future, even though for the shorter term it recommends culling of significant numbers. The society rejected sterilisation, translocation and erection of barriers are inadequate measures to curb the wild pig population, while starting a survey to see if there is correlation between pig densities and abundance of oil palm in the area.
Culling of Lower Peirce wild pigs ‘necessary in the short term’
SINGAPORE – Even as it recommended that the wild pig population at Lower Peirce needed to be “substantially reduced immediately”, the Nature Society has suggested longer-term measures to minimise future culling.
These include fencing off the oil palm forest at the south-east section of the Lower Peirce forest to deny the pigs access to this food source, the removal of oil palm and a study to determine optimum wild pig populations for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
In the short term, culling is necessary to stop the forest from being denuded and to allow for regeneration.
It would also ensure sufficient resources for other wildlife such as mousedeer, stop native species like insects and the Malayan box terrapin from being preyed on by the pigs, and improve public safety, the society said in its position paper issued last week.
It identified a 0.3-sq-km area in the Lower Peirce forest – close to Upper Thomson Road – as being severely damaged by two families of between 30 and 40 wild pigs, with a new batch of 10 piglets observed last month.
This means a density of 266 pigs a sq km at the site or over seven times the density of Malaysia’s Pasoh forest, where large wild pig populations adversely impact small animals and flora.
Sterilisation will not solve the problem of overpopulation, while erecting barriers to keep the pigs within the forest is impractical and would not address forest degeneration, the society said.
Translocation would only transfer the problem to another area.
The society is involved in a survey to determine if high wild pig densities are correlated to the presence of oil palm in the area.
As a conservation group, it is not qualified to recommend how culling should be carried out, it added.
Debate on the culling of wild pigs started in June, with animal welfare activists against it and the National Parks Board defending its decision.
On June 22, two wild boars wandered into the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and one attacked a security guard and a five-year-old boy.
Image from Savio DSouza