Diet: Omnivorous. They are voracious feeders, eating seeds, young plants and even small animals.
Weight: Ranges from 50kg to 100kg.
Lifespan: It can live for over 20 years.
Reproduction: It can start reproducing from a young age, producing 4 to 8 piglets a year.
They usually venture out of the forests at night to forage for food.
They move around in a herd.
They unearth roots and bulbs from the ground with their hard snouts.
How has the wild boar population grown in Singapore?
No wild boars were detected in our Nature Reserves during an extensive survey carried out between 1992 and 1997
Today, wild boars can be found in our Nature Reserves and many parts of the island.
In the Lower Peirce area alone, we have seen two herds of wild boars, adding up to about 80 to 100. This number could double within the year.
Based on numerous studies done elsewhere, the upper limit of the wild boar population in a balanced ecosystem is 100 in the Nature Reserves and 7 in the Lower Peirce area.
The population of wild boars has been increasing exponentially because:
In our Nature Reserves, wild boars no longer have natural predators such as tigers and leopards to keep the population number in check.
Wild boars reproduce very quickly, producing 4 to 8 piglets a year
Why is there a need for NParks to manage population of wild boars?
a) Public safety
With the increase in the number of wild boars, they are more commonly seen at locations like public roads, parks and even residential areas.
We have received up to 5 cases of feedback per month from the public about sightings of wild boars.
Although they appear shy, they are wild animals and are unpredictable in behaviour. They pose an increasing risk to public safety.
As wild boars have been observed to dash across the road without warning, the risk of vehicular collisions with wild boars is increasing.
Examples of human-wild boar conflicts:
On 16 Sep 2012, a wild boar attacked a visitor at Pulau Ubin from behind as she was carrying a bag containing food.
A pet dog died from serious injuries after being attacked by a pair of wild boars at the Chestnut area.
On 22 June 2012, two wild boars wandered into Pond Gardens at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. One of the boars attacked a security guard and a 5-year old boy. Fortunately, the security guard and boy were not seriously injured.
NParks’ staff almost collided with a large herd of wild boars dashing across Old Upper Thomson Road.
Fatalities have been reported in wild boar attacks in Malaysia.
b) Adverse impact on our nature reserve forests
Wild boars trample the undergrowth and prevent natural regeneration of the forest. Left uncontrolled, the nature reserve forests can only deteriorate.
Past research suggests that wild boars are seed predators, not seed dispersers. They are known to look for large seeds to eat. They only disperse seeds that are small enough to avoid destruction when travelling through the animal’s gut passage.
Our primary forest trees, especially our most critically endangered ones, have large seeds, which are often eaten by wild boars.
Past research and studies (e.g. by Dr Kalan Ickes and other researchers) show that large populations of wild boars in Pasoh Forest Reserve in Malaysia have caused extensive negative impact on small animals and flora.
NParks staff have documented the negative impact that wild boars have on our forest in the Lower Peirce area.
What should you do if you encounter wild boars?
Move calmly away from the animal
Do not approach the animal
Do not feed the animal
Do not use flash photography to take pictures of the animal
What have other countries done to manage their wild animals eg. wild boar population?
To manage the wildlife population and as part of their forestry management practices, countries have put in place a Wildlife Management programme which includes periodic culling. Some countries have also included a hunting season where members of the shooting club can apply for a licence to hunt them. For example, Berlin, Hawaii and Mississippi are also trying to reduce the population of wild boars (click here and here for more information)
How does NParks intend to manage the wild boar issue?
We take a holistic approach in managing the growing population of wild boars. Over the years, we have conducted public education and outreach activities on the presence of wild boars in our urban spaces. We have recently installed new signs to advise the public on what to do when they encounter these animals. We will continue these education efforts as well as look into other ways to manage the wild boar population by reducing its food sources.
How about sterilising wild boars to curb its population growth?
There is no single-dose vaccination for chemical contraception commercially available as yet. Available drugs require follow-up injections, and these are not practicable for free-ranging animals.
Surgical sterilisation, on the other hand, is an elaborate and expensive procedure that requires the capture and sedation of the animals as well as the setting up of mobile clinics.
Post-surgical care requires the animals to be placed in holding facilities for a period of time. Such procedures are often a welfare concern as they are very invasive and impose severe stress to any wild animal.
Public safety concerns and damage to the forest are not reduced because sterilised animals will continue to roam freely.
How about relocating or giving the wild boars to zoos to curb its population growth?
We have checked with Wildlife Reserves Singapore. It does not have plans to include these animals in their collection.
Relocating wild boars to other areas does not curb the adverse impact they will have on the forests in those areas.
How about fencing up the area to confine the wild boars within a space to lower the risk of human-wild boar conflicts?
The wild boars will still be able to roam and forage within the forests and continue damaging the forests.
The Nature Reserves are very porous and covera perimeter of more than 30 km. It is neither practical nor effective to fence up the Nature Reserves.
Is wild boar meat safe for public consumption?
Food processing establishments must be licensed by AVA before they are permitted to carry out any slaughtering, food processing or storage activities for wholesale distribution. There are no appropriate facilities in Singapore to ensure safe and hygienic processing of wild boar meat. Without proper processing, wild boar meat products may not be safe for consumption.
What method has been chosen to reduce the wild boar population?
Preparations are underway to reduce the population of wild boars. The animals will be put down in as humane a manner as possible. We are working with the Wildlife Reserves Singapore on a method of sedating and euthanising the animals. The operation will not be open to the public and carried out by a small number of handlers.
Is any research being done on wild boars now?
As part of our holistic wild boar management plan, we are supporting the Nature Society’s surveys to find out whether wild boar activity is linked to the availability of food sources such as oil palm and sea apple. More information can be found in Nature Society’s position paper on wild boars.