Monday, June 3, 2013

Of Boar and Men: My article on POSKOD


Chek Jawa is home to many creatures large and small, but few other animals manage to thrill and excite visitors like the resident herd of friendly wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus). Feeding has made some of the pigs very used to humans, and it is now common to see sows with piglets out in the open, allowing people to get very close to them. Such habituation has its benefits, and there have been countless peaceful interactions between wild pigs and humans, but there is an uneasy tension. With some of the wild boar starting to approach people to beg for food, are people at risk of being harassed or even attacked? And are visitors aware of how to behave appropriately around wildlife so as to allow this coexistence to continue? I write about this interesting relationship between humans and wild pigs in my first article for POSKOD.

Here's an excerpt:

For many visitors to Chek Jawa, the first sign that they're not in any ordinary urban park is likely to be the resident family of wild boar, usually seen foraging nonchalantly among the trees fringing the dirt paths. Singapore tends to focus on iconic individual animals in its captive zoological collections (many of which aren't native to the island to begin with), but if there were true wildlife celebrities to look out for in our little pockets of managed wilderness, these pigs would certainly get top billing.

Whenever the small herd comes into view, the reaction from the crowd tends to be one of amazement and excitement. Children and adults alike rush to get a closer look, cameras snap away, and if piglets are present, looking for all the world like tiny, fuzzy brown and white-striped watermelons on legs, a stream of exclamations of "So cute!" ensues.

Continue reading on POSKOD

(Cross-posted to SBA Plus. Do support me in the Singapore Blog Awards!)