Produced by MediaCorp’s Channel News Asia, using the latest filmmaking techniques and narrated by natural history legend Sir David Attenborough, the TV series, “Wild City”, presents wildlife of various species existing in the urban areas of Singapore.
In one of the two-part series, Sir David states that these chickens found at Sin Ming Avenue as the species of Red Junglefowl, the ancestors to the domesticated chickens. It also showed footage that the chickens had grey legs and that they can fly, something which Straits Times contested against.
To view the full clip, visit Toggle here.
Earlier this week, it has been reported that “chickens” which had been roaming freely around Thomson View and Blocks 452 to 454 Sin Ming Avenue, have been put down by Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) as there were 20 complaints lodged against their presence.
Many members of the public voiced out against the culling and noted that the chickens were of endangered species.
One of such vocal critics, Jayce Sl wrote that these were endangered wild jungle fowls and they were even featured in the said documentary, “Wild City”.
Jayce further commented, “Most residents living here in Sin Ming are extremely proud to have them around and it is indeed heartbreaking to see them being culled. To differentiate between normal chickens and wild jungle fowls, just take a look at their cheeks, they have one white spot at each side, and that’s the ENDANGERED wild jungle fowls. Normal chickens do not have white dot on their cheeks.
Those that were being culled at Sin Ming ARE the Endangered Red Jungle Fowls! And this is really upsetting as the news kept reporting that they are the free ranging chickens which they are not! There are only 100 left in the wild and AVA just slaughtered more than 20% of them at Sin Ming…”
AVA then gave a non-answer as to whether the culled chickens were Red Junglefowls by stating to the press that the free-ranging chickens that are sometimes seen on mainland Singapore are not red junglefowl — an endangered species — though some may resemble them.
Andrew Scott, director of Wild City in response to the news of the culling commented, “I directed the episode of the TV programme “Wild City”, and we featured those very birds. I have very fond memories of the week we spent filming on Sin Ming Ave. We filmed all over the island for that show, but that street always stuck in my mind as the most charming and characterful place we visited. I would dispute the assertion that they are “chickens, not jungle fowl” – They are exactly the same species (only genetic testing would be able to differentiate wild type fowl from domesticated birds, and even then the difference is debatable).
Pointing that the killing of the Red Junglefowls just seems like another example of Singapore’s bipolar attitude to its nature: it’s all good so long as it gets in the way.
He added, “Nature isn’t a garden, you don’t get to pick the best bits and expect it all to hang together. It’s ecological vandalism. What next for other birds we don’t like the sound of? Do we kill all the calling Koels?” wrote Andrew and lamented, “I’m impressed that Singaporeans can filter out the constant noise of traffic and construction, but are driven to distraction by a few crowing chickens. It’s a total shame.”