Woman feeding wild boars sparks praise and concern

A video posted by a user on the Facebook group Love Cycling SG shows about 10 boars of various sizes at a muddy patch of bare ground in Pasir Ris. A woman is also seen emptying out the contents of several plastic bags near the animals, which the boars then eat.
PHOTO: Shin Min

Some wild boars that inhabit the area around the Lorong Halus Jetty in Pasir Ris have been getting fed by members of the public, and raising concerns among others.

A video and photos of one woman feeding the animals were posted on a Facebook group for cycling enthusiasts on Sunday.

The video, posted by a user on the Facebook group Love Cycling SG, shows about 10 boars of different sizes at a muddy, barren patch of land. A woman is also seen nearby, emptying out the contents of several plastic bags, which the boars then eat.

The user was cycling past the jetty when he saw the woman and the animals. He later saw the woman remove the plastic bags after feeding the animals.

Several people praised the woman's actions, with one person calling it a "lovely and heartwarming sight".

Others, however, expressed concern that feeding the boars might cause them to come into closer contact with humans in their search for food. A wild boar reportedly chased and injured a boy in Punggol last month. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on June 1 said it has received 27 complaints about wild boars so far this year.

Feeding the boars might indeed cause them to associate humans with food, said Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive at the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres).

"Feeding should be stopped... If not, they might approach humans in the future, and people may report them as a nuisance, resulting in them being culled," she told The Straits Times.

Wild animals can also be unpredictable, so it is best to look at them from a distance, added Ms Boopal. "They will have enough food in their habitat to survive," she said.

A national serviceman, who gave his name as Aziwan, 20, said he has fed the boars at the jetty for nearly three years, and they typically do not come around after 6pm or 7pm, evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

"These wild boars are all very gentle, they won't attack people. And there is a fence surrounding the area, as long as people don't cross it, it should be safe," he said.

About 30 people were seen by Shin Min feeding the boars in the span of an hour, including some who drove to the jetty with their children.

According to an advisory on the AVA website, people should not try to feed wild boars and should keep a safe distance from them.

"Wild boars are unpredictable animals and can be dangerous. Their teeth can inflict serious injuries. Female wild boars, especially, are dangerous when protecting their young," said the advisory.

The public is also advised to not provoke wild boars by taking photographs with the flash turned on.

This article was first published on June 21, 2016.
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