SINGAPORE: It has been about a year since the National Parks Board began culling wild boars at the Lower Peirce Reservoir area.
While not as many wild boars have been sighted in the area as before, the trail the remaining creatures leave behind is still quite a sight. Thus, residents from Kebun Baru Vista have taken on the mission of "patching up" the area.
Patch-Up at the Park is a ground-up conservation initiative by the neighbourhood committee.
Dr Robert Liew, organising chairperson of Patch-Up at the Park, said: "The old wise ones, they're still around. We've even given one a name, his name is Boris - Boris the pig. But the small ones, we haven't seen them around anymore. So that's the effect of the culling I think.
"We want to be able to co-exist happily with the wild boars and other wild animals. So things they've put out of place, it's our job to put it in place again, so we both can enjoy the park."
Armed with shovels and other equipment, some 50 residents from Kebun Baru Vista took on the mission of patching up a field at Lower Peirce Reservoir on Sunday morning.
The NParks, which supplied tools for the initiative, also gave an update on the situation - it has culled 40 wild boars since last year and will continue doing so as “the population of wild boars is still a concern”.
Asked when the culling will stop, Mr Wong Tuan Wah, Director of Conservation at the NParks, said that “the number of wild boars to be removed is dependent on the assessment of the threat to public safety, the impact on the forest and conservation interests”.
As recent as May this year, the agency was still receiving feedback of wild boars colliding with vehicles at Upper Thomson Road. “Damage to the undergrowth also continues to be observed,” Mr Wong added.
The agency could not give an estimate on the current wild boar population in Singapore or within the Lower Peirce area. In June, it said that there were up to 100 wild boars in the Lower Peirce area, based on their observation of “two herds”, and that the ideal number for the area is seven.
The NParks began culling wild boars in the area in August last year after their numbers grew sharply, drawing the ire of conservation and animal rights groups. The culling is limited to a 0.3-sq-km area in the Lower Peirce forest.
Residents have noted that things are improving in the area - the neighbourhood committee has not received any complaints about wild boars in the past six months, this is compared to about three to five complaints a year ago.
While residents previously notice new potholes every other day, residents said they now only see new potholes emerging once a week.
It is hoped that the patching-up exercise will instil a sense of ownership in residents.
The neighbourhood committee which organised the event hopes to carry out such patch-up exercises once a month.
Besides culling, one resident, Russell Ng, also told Channel NewsAsia they have noticed more palm oil palm trees being cut down -- a move that may help keep the wild boars at bay.
He said: "I think they felt that the palm trees were attracting too many wild boars -- and this palm oil is one of their favourite food -- and replaced them with native species that do not attract the wild boars out... to create a buffer zone between the forest and the park itself." - CNA/TODAY/ac/de
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