The Straits Times reported that the though Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) have requested to be able to witness the euthanising of wild boars in Lower Peirce, the National Parks Board turned it down for safety reasons, assuring that it will be done in a humane way.
No outsiders allowed for boar culling: NParks
THE National Parks Board (NParks) has turned down requests by animal welfare groups to observe the culling of wild boars in the Lower Peirce area.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) told The Straits Times they wanted to be present to ensure the method used is humane.
But NParks said on Monday in response to queries that no outsiders would be allowed to observe the culling for safety reasons.
“The operation will be carried out by a small number of handlers. For safety reasons, and in order not to distract the handlers or animals, we’ll not be allowing anyone else into the area,” said NParks conservation director Wong Tuan Wah.
He said the agency is still working with Wildlife Reserves Singapore on a method to sedate and euthanise the boars. “The animals will be put down in as humane a manner as possible,” he said.
Asked how many boars would be killed and when the culling would take place, an NParks spokesman said there were “no new updates”.
The animal has been in the spotlight since The Straits Times reported in June that NParks was considering ways to cull the population at Lower Peirce. The decision triggered numerous letters to The Straits Times Forum Page, both for and against the culling.
NParks has defended the need to do so, citing the danger posed to people and the damage the boars have caused to the Lower Peirce forest.
In June, a wild boar believed to be from the Lower Peirce area wandered into the nearby Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and charged at a security guard and a five-year-old boy.
NParks estimates that there are 80 to 100 wild boars in the Lower Peirce area, based on its observations of two herds.
Scientific studies on boar population densities in other countries such as Malaysia indicate this number is too high for the 1.5 sq km Lower Peirce area, but some have called for NParks to conduct local studies before culling the animal.
SPCA executive director Corinne Fong said NParks should not exclude outsiders from observing the culling.
“It’s a shame (NParks) is not opening this up to outsiders. That would give the public more assurance that everything will be done properly and humanely,” she said.
Said Acres executive director Louis Ng: “We still don’t support the culling but third parties could help audit the operations and make sure future rounds of culling are done better.”
But Dr Diong Cheong Hoong, who has researched wild pigs in Borneo, Malaysia and Singapore, said sedation and euthanisation is a well-established culling method.
“Having more people will only agitate the boar in the trap more,” he added.
Instead, NParks could share with the groups its culling procedure and the backgrounds of those carrying it out, he said.
NParks has said it may be necessary to cull the boars on a regular basis if the population continues to grow. It has also said it will consider other options such as removing their food source, which includes oil-palm plants, in the Lower Peirce area, though this must be weighed carefully as other animals may rely on the food.
Image from Bering17