Wild boars attacking humans, need to be managed: Khaw

SINGAPORE - National Development Minister Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote on his blog on Friday regarding an incident where two wild boars charged at a CISCO security guard and a child.

The incident took place on Friday morning at about 9am.

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The wild boars were seen wandering off into the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park from their home in Lower Peirce area at about 8.30am.

According to The New Paper on Saturday, a five-year-old boy was thrown about 1 metre away after the boar rammed into his rear. The boy was not seriously injured. A Caucasian man was seen carrying the kid away.

A patrolling Cisco protection officer, Mr Arnold Owen Rodriguese, 36, also hurt his hand in a fall after being knocked down by the animal.

A hunt for the wild boars ensued after NParks and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) officers were called in.

The New Paper reported that at about 2pm, a boar was spotted and put down with a dart gun. Its carcass was then carried away by a WRS van.

Wild boar population needs to be managed: Khaw

However, the incident serves to highlight the need for the wild boar population in Singapore to be managed, Mr Khaw wrote.

Rehoming them, unfortunately, is not an option, he added.

Mr Khaw was speaking in response to a fierce debate brewing following NPark's decision to cull some of the wild boar population in the area.

The decision is being objected to by some residents and animal rights activists.

However, NParks has maintained that the boars are eating valuable plant life and two boars once attacked and killed a pet dog.

In his blog post, Mr Khaw said that while he hopes that all species of life can live in their natural habitat rather than be locked up, this is a "very stretched target".

"In a limited space of just over 700 sq km, it is a zero-sum game and we need to prioritise," he wrote.

He noted that the ministry's priority is to protect Singaporean children, hence the need to act on wild animals occasionally.

"We will be as humane as we can, but the need to manage their population remains," he said.

In the post, he also mentioned the efforts taken to manage Singapore's stray dog population. He wrote that the ministry has been receiving complaints of certain packs of dogs barking and behaving aggressively towards park goers.

He said that while he appreciates the good intentions of animal rights activists who tried to disrupt the rounding up of such strays, he is more worried "about our children, who are defenceless in such adversity."

He said that animal lovers are invited to come forward and adopt the strays if they wish to express their compassion, rather than feeding them "indiscriminately and hindering efforts to manage the stray population."

yamadak@sph.com.sg

candicec@sph.com.sg

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