Fences, grids put up at Singapore’s Zhenghua Nature Park

Fences, grids put up at Singapore’s Zhenghua Nature Park

SINGAPORE, June 24 — Fences and structures known as cattle grids are being put up at Zhenghua Nature Park to reduce the incidence of wild boars entering public spaces, the National Parks Board (NParks) said today. This was after three cases of wild boar attacks this year, two of which happened in Bukit Panjang.

Early in June, a 40-year-old Singaporean man was attacked by a wild boar at Zhenghua Nature Park in the Bukit Panjang neighbourhood while walking his dog. A month before the incident, a 34-year-old woman was attacked at a bus stop near the park. Both victims sustained injuries and were hospitalised.

NParks arranged a visit to the park on Friday for members of the media, where the agency showed the measures that it has taken to mitigate the risks and reduce incidences of human-wild boar encounters.One of these measures is to put up fences to prevent wild boars from venturing from the forests into community spaces.

The authorities have also installed cattle grids, which are metal structures placed on the ground.The gaps in the grids make it difficult for a wild boar to walk on, which could deter them from crossing one area to another, while small creatures and animals with padded feet such as lizards and pangolins can walk on the grid without difficulty.

The fences and grids have been installed at the Bangkit underpass along Zhenghua Nature Park, and will be installed along Chestnut Avenue and under the Gali Batu flyover.The installation work along Chestnut Avenue is targeted to be completed by next month, while the one under the Gali Batu flyover is expected to be done by the end of August.

NParks’ group director of wildlife management Ryan Lee said that the structures will minimise the potential of human and wild boar encounters.Asked whether sterilisation can be used to control the wild boar population, Mr Lee said: “Firstly, sterilisation requires time and intensive resourcing before any actual effect can be seen.

“That, along with the high fecundity (being able to reproduce numerous offspring) of wild boars, (means that) we will always be playing a catch-up game (with the boars), and it may not be so practical in the local context.

“A combination of minimising their access to human food resources and by excluding them from urban environments would be more effective and directly minimise human-wild boar encounters.”

Besides physical structures, NParks has also been implementing other measures to manage the wild boar population, including educating the public not to feed the boars and controlling its population. Since 2019, around 50 boars within Zhenghua Nature Park have been culled.The agency has also been tackling human sources of food, which can lead the wild boars to rely on humans for food and may result in them venturing into urban areas.

Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State for National Development who was at the site visit on Friday, said that he is concerned for the safety of the public.

“I would also like to appeal to residents, that if you see a wild boar, stay calm. And importantly, do not feed wildlife,” he added. — TODAY