SINGAPORE – Skirmishes between wild boars and humans are few and far between, with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) receiving about one report related to an attack a year.
The authority was responding to queries from The Straits Times, following an incident about a week ago in which a Taiwanese visitor was wounded by a wild boar.
Ms Ding Yichun, 55, was walking her dog on a trail at the edge of Windsor Nature Park when she was gored in the leg by a wild boar. She received 60 stitches for her 10cm-long wound.
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“In the interest of public safety, following the unfortunate accident in Windsor Nature Park, NParks has put up signs at all entrances to the park and along the trail to advise visitors about what to do should they encounter wild boars,” said Mr Wong Tuan Wah, group director for conservation at the National Parks Board (NParks), which manages the park.
He said NParks will also continue to closely monitor wild boar activities in the area, but advised visitors to remain calm and move slowly away from any they may encounter. “It is important to keep a safe distance from them, and not approach or attempt to feed them. Adults should also ensure that young children and pets are kept away as they may be curious and approach the boars,” he added.
Wild boars are native to Singapore. A female can start reproducing at 18 months of age and produce four to six piglets a year, according to NParks.
“Their quick reproduction rates, presence of ideal foraging habitats and the lack of natural predators all contribute to their population growth. These days they are increasingly spotted all over the island,” said the website.
AVA said it has received feedback on wild boars in areas such as Punggol and Lorong Halus. Last month, a large number were spotted at a bus interchange in Tuas.
In January, The Straits Times reported wild boars seen at Pasir Ris Drive 3 which were being fed by people.
Mr Wong said based on NParks’ observations and research, there are an estimated 500 wild boars present throughout Singapore.
It is uncommon for a wild boar to attack a human, as the animals tend to do so only when threatened or startled, said Mr Ong Say Lin, an environmental consultant.
But he noted that as development pushes wild boar populations closer to humans, it is important to develop strategies that discourage the animals to venture beyond forested habitats in the first place.
“Since the natural habitat of wild boars is the forest, a more proactive solution to reducing human-wildlife conflict is to discourage wild boars from leaving the natural habitats in the first place. This could be done through the enforcement of the no feeding rule, or not planting plants which they feed on at the fringes of their habitats,” said Mr Ong, 30.
Wild boars are omnivorous, but feed mainly on seeds, tubers and young plants.
“If wild boars do not venture into urban areas to look for food but stay within the forested areas, competition for food in these areas may also help to naturally keep their population in check without the need for culling,” said Mr Ong.