SINGAPORE — The National Parks Board (NParks) has charged eight people on Wednesday (13 January) for feeding wild boars at Lorong Halus, with another 11 to be charged over the next two weeks.
It said in a media release on Wednesday that its staff caught these individuals feeding wild boars with bread or dog food at Lorong Halus between 26 November and 7 December last year.
Under Section 5A(3) of the Wildlife Act, first-time offenders caught feeding wildlife could be fined up to $5,000, and repeat offenders could be fined up to $10,000. This is the first time that NParks has brought so many individuals to court since the Act came into effect on 1 June last year.
Why it is an offence to feed wild boars
Since the Act came into effect, NParks has identified several feeding hotspots based on the mapping of the wildlife distribution and feedback throughout Singapore. It has taken enforcement action against 62 individuals for wildlife feeding, with more than 20 being taken to court.
“Intentional feeding or irresponsible discarding of food alters the natural foraging behaviour of wildlife and habituates them to human presence and relying on humans for an easy source of food,” NParks said in the media release.
“This results in wildlife having an increased propensity to approach humans for food and may lead to them venturing into urban areas in search of human sources of food. This includes wandering onto roads and posing a potential danger to motorists and to themselves as well as displaying aggressive behaviour towards people they may come across.
“If wildlife turn aggressive due to constant feeding, they may have to be put down to safeguard public safety.”
NParks said that feeding wildlife with processed foods can also cause health problems to the animals, as the food is not suitable for them. Wildlife may also lose their natural foraging skills and struggle to survive in their natural environment when there is no readily available food source.
Furthermore, many animals fulfil ecological roles such as pollinators and seed dispersers, and these processes are disrupted when they rely on humans for food instead.
Efforts to raise awareness on harmful effects of feeding wildlife
NParks, with support from the National Environment Agency and Singapore Food Agency, has stepped up its efforts to raise awareness on the detrimental effects of feeding wildlife.
It seeks to let patrons, food stall vendors and hawkers at hawker centres and coffee shops understand the need to return trays and dispose food waste, in order to reduce the food sources for wildlife like pigeons and mynahs.
Under its mentorship, three Singapore youths – Karl Png, Tina Liow and Yu Chew Peng – will be leading an outreach project on the topic of human-wildlife coexistence, with focus on the message of “no feeding of wildlife”. The project started on Monday, with an aim to execute by the third quarter of this year.
NParks would like to remind the public that, should they encounter a wild boar, they should calm and move slowly away from the animal. They should keep a safe distance, and not corner or provoke the animal. If adult wild boars are seen with young piglets, keep a distance and leave them alone, as they are potentially aggressive and may attempt to defend their young.
The public may call the Animal Response Centre at 1800-4761600 to report any wild boar encounters.
Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore
More Singapore stories: