Saturday, June 11, 2011

If you spot wild boars at Lower Peirce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack

If you spot wild boars at Lower Peirce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack

Wild boar sightings occur every now and then in some forested areas of Singapore, but you should never approach them because they may attack, warns STOMPer Seaeagle.

The STOMPer shares:

"Wildboar family spotted at Lower Pierce Reservoir during an evening walk along the Cyathea trail (Board Walk).

"These creatures are usually shy and avoid humans.

"So let's keep it that way, as they may attack when frightened by us!

"Do not feed them!"
If you spot wild boars at Lower Pierce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack
If you spot wild boars at Lower Pierce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack
If you spot wild boars at Lower Pierce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack
If you spot wild boars at Lower Pierce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack
If you spot wild boars at Lower Pierce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack

I recently wrote about wild boar (Sus scrofa) in nature areas on mainland Singapore, after another sighting of wild boar at Lorong Halus. Last November, a herd of wild boar was seen at Upper Peirce Reservoir.

Eurasian Wild Pig - IMG_1808
Lower Peirce Reservoir Park;
(Photo by Francis Yap)

The person who submitted this to STOMP raised a good point, that wild boar are best appreciated from a safe distance. After all, even if they may appear tame and endearing, these are still wild animals. Most encounters between wild boar and people result in the wild boar running off, but one should never underestimate the damage a wild boar can deal when provoked. Mothers with young may be especially defensive, and even though the piglets are cute, one should never get too close to them.

Eurasian Wild Pig - IMG_1769-2
Lower Peirce Reservoir Park;
(Photo by Francis Yap)

Many people appear to be oblivious about how to behave appropriately around wild animals; all over the world, one finds stories about people who put themselves in harm's way by getting too close to wildlife, deliberately harassing them, or even feeding them. Forgetting that they are not in a zoo, people may talk and shout to each other excitedly, whipping out their cameras to record the moment, or even go forward in an attempt to touch or pet the animal. It's amazing that there aren't more incidents in which people are injured or killed by a wild animal due to such behaviour.

Warning Sign
Sign warning parkgoers about wild boars, Lower Peirce Reservoir Park;
(Photo by Purple_man)

Another problem faced by wildlife is feeding. It seems as if people everywhere have this innate drive to show their kindness for animals by feeding them. This creates problems, especially if the wrong type of food is offered, or when one chooses to feed large, potentially dangerous animals. There are already so many problems resulting from the feeding of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), and regular feeding of wild boar is probably not going to make things any better.


Chek Jawa;
(Photo by Hej™)

Another possible problem with feeding is that these animals become semi-tame, and start to get acclimatised to the presence of people. Losing their wariness of humans means that wild boar may become more vulnerable to poachers or those inclined towards animal abuse. Priscilla, the old mascot of Chek Jawa, was slashed on her rump not long before she died; this was either a botched poaching attempt, the work of a twisted and cruel person, or someone who had been frightened by her tameness and thought that he was acting in self-defence.

IMG_7769
Wild boar approaching person, Chek Jawa;
(Photo by Marcus)

As far as I know, some of the taxi drivers on Pulau Ubin do feed the wild boar on Chek Jawa, but this has yet to cause any real problems. The wild boar will approach people, as if investigating to see if they have any food, but don't get pushy. They're content to root around in the leaf litter for food, while visitors get an unforgettable experience. According to what 1 of the drivers told me before, they only feed sows, as the males get too aggressive. And apparently, unlike monkeys, which will snatch food from people, the wild boar will ignore you if you don't have any food.

IMG_7782
Chek Jawa;
(Photo by Marcus)

Hopefully, people bear in mind that these are wild animals, and don't push their luck. Just because these wild boar are now comfortable around people does not mean that they are domesticated pets.

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