Complaints on snakes and birds is increasing but complaints on decreased despite a rise last year, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said.
AVA last year received about 7,860 complaints about birds, up from about 4,360 in 2013, and about 850 for snakes, an increase from about 220 in 2013. But the number of complaints for monkeys went down from about 1,870 in 2013 to 750 in 2015, although it reached up to 910 last year.
The authority said that the increased feedback could be due to a greater awareness of public members on their role as a first-responder for animal-related issues.
The AVA spokesperson said, “Most of the feedback is related to disamenities caused by wildlife, such as noise and soiling, and the incursion of wild animals into premises. There has also been feedback regarding concerns on health risks posed by animals.”
AVA’s priority in its approach to manage the wild animal population is to ensure that public health and safety are not compromised. If the animals do not pose significant health or safety concerns, it would advise the feedback-providers on ways to mitigate the situation, such as working with town councils to trim trees.
If the animals enter premises and destroy property, injure residents, or are potential carriers of disease, it would work with the relevant parties to search relocation options wherever possible. “If AVA has no alternatives, it has to act decisively to safeguard public health and safety through humane euthanasia,” the spokesperson said.
AVA said that it had also attempted on various studies, including trials on bird contraceptives effectiveness in managing the pigeon population.
It also keeps track of the received feed backs and makes routine surveillance to gather knowledge of which areas have greater human-wildlife interaction, AVA said.
Today the local news reported, Dr Lena Chan, Director of National Biodiversity Centre of Nparks, said that NParks’ approach to the human-wildlife conflicts is science-based.
Dr Chan said, “NParks is an agency responsible for biodiversity conservation, so we take it seriously… It has got to be backed by some science, long-term monitoring.”
In addition to complaints, other factors need to be considered in the management of human-wildlife interactions.
Answering a question if there is a threshold before the authorities decide to take any action, Dr Chan noted that there is no ‘magic figure’.
She explained like in the case of the macaques (a genus of Old World monkeys), while NParks can do a population viability analysis by processing information such as demographic, population, food availability into a formula, the situation is complicated by human factors, like when humans feed the monkeys and lure them out of the forest.
And in the case of the wild boars, the authorities has made the decision to cull them in 2014, as studies found them to be very damaging to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. “They were eating the regenerated saplings and their population size was increasing very rapidly,” she said.
Just in February, “Chickens” which had been roaming freely around Thomson View and Blocks 452 to 454 Sin Ming Avenue, have been put down by AVA as the agency claimed that there were 20 complaints lodged against their presence. It later said that the chickens were culled due to possible public health concerns over bird-flu.