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Population control, reducing illegal feeding: Authorities step up efforts to curb pigeon numbers in 3 hotspot areas

Population control, reducing illegal feeding: Authorities step up efforts to curb pigeon numbers in 3 hotspot areas
Flock of pigeons under a block of flats at Bukit Merah in November 2023.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

Commonly considered an eyesore by members of the public, the infamous rock pigeons have constantly made headlines for their loud chattering and nesting on HDB blocks.

Residents have also complained about the stinky and unsightly droppings, which can pose health and hygiene concerns.

To rein in the population of this invasive species, various government agencies including the National Parks Board (NParks), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) are rolling out a six-months-long pilot action plan to address this issue from June.

The agencies, in a joint press briefing today, said they will work with the Ang Mo Kio Town Council, Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council and Tanjong Pagar Town Council where the estates have been identified as pigeon hotspots.

The plan? To actively manage the pigeon population in these areas through the reduction of food source and to control the numbers there. 

CCTV cameras to monitor pigeon feeding hotspots

By reducing food sources from humans, such as the feeding of these birds, the reproductive rate of pigeons will slow down, said the agencies.

To educate the public on this, the three town councils and agencies will continue organising outreach talks in schools to engage students as well as other initiatives such as engagement sessions for the elderly.

These birds, which are not native to Singapore, can multiply up to five times a year.

NEA and SFA will also work with the three town councils and other stakeholders including the Hawkers' Associations, Managing Agent, food shops operators and cleaning contractors to boost efforts in improving refuse and food waste management at bin centres and food establishments.

SFA will also take enforcement action against non-compliances on refuse management and cleanliness of food establishments premises.

Meanwhile, NParks said they will monitor feedback on illegal bird feeding and undertake active enforcement, including physical surveillance and the deployment of CCTV cameras at identified feeding hotspots.

Offenders caught feeding pigeons can be fined up to $10,000 under the Wildlife Act.

Pigeon removal required to complement food source reduction measures

But reducing their food source is not enough to control the pigeon population — it is also necessary to remove these birds to complement the abovementioned measures.

Over the next six months, pigeon culling exercises will be stepped up in the three town council areas.

The birds will be trapped and humanely euthanised first by NParks, following which the respective three town councils will subsequently take over the efforts in maintaining the pigeon population in their areas.

The board said that town councils will be advised on proper removal methods, and a set of guidelines for the use of a sedative called alpha-chloralose has been developed to enhance efficacy and address any animal welfare concerns.

The guidelines states that contractors should use carbon dioxide for the humane euthanasia of pigeons and should be present on site for the entire duration to intervene if other birds or animals appear.

The community's support is also critical in keeping the pigeon population down, said the agencies.

Members of the public can help reduce population growth by not feeding pigeons and ensuring that food waste is properly disposed of.

Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State for National Development, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (June 25) that the agencies will assess the results of the pilot plan in early 2025. If it found to be effective, implementation in other town council estates will be considered.

ALSO READ: 'It's like a bird park': Choa Chu Kang residents upset with neighbour for feeding pigeons

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