Punggol residents on edge after wild boar incident
Some Punggol residents on edge after wild boar recently injured boy in the area
Some residents of Edgefield Plains in Punggol say they remain worried after a wild boar injured a boy in the area on Sunday afternoon.
Madam Yun Dan Hui, 53, who had taken her two-year-old grandson to the playground at Block 185, said that she was "terrified" that the wild boar would make a reappearance.
She told The New Paper in Mandarin: "Wild boars are very fierce and will charge at people. Young children don't know any better and might get injured as a result."
At least two other residents who spoke to The New Paper echoed her concerns.
Madam Anna Gordeeva, 35, who takes her five-year-old son, Andrei, to the playground at Block 185 every day, said she was surprised that the wild boar could end up in such a populated area.
The Singapore permanent resident, who has lived in Edgefield Plains for five years, said: "I used to think that everyone was safe here as it is so far from the main road and so many people come down here every day."She says she keeps a sharper eye on her son now.
A spokesman for My First Skool - a pre-school located at Block 184 - said that an advisory circular on precautionary measures has been sent to the principals of the centres located within Punggol and Sengkang.
Teachers are instructed to keep a safe distance if the wild boar is spotted during outdoor activities.
Other residents were more curious about how it had found its way into the area, which is densely populated with HDB flats. Mr Calvin Chan, 37, a father of two and resident of the estate for five years, said: "It's a part of nature, so it's unpredictable. But I wonder how it came here since we live quite far away from the forested areas."
Mr Ben Lee, founder of nature conservation group Nature Trekker, said that the wild boar could have come from Coney Island, also known as Pulau Serangoon.
"The stretch of water between the island and the mainland is not very wide. The water there is also usually quite calm, making it easier for them to swim across," said Mr Lee.
Recently, two bridges were also constructed, linking the island - which is now a nature park that people can visit - to the mainland.
This is not the first time wild boars have made an appearance in Punggol.
In June last year, it was reported that residents in the same area, Edgefield Plains, had spotted boars multiple times and had complained to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
According to a Shin Min Daily News report then, some residents resorted to carrying wooden sticks to defend themselves.
Responding to queries, the AVA told The New Paper that after last year's sightings, 17 wild boars were trapped and put down.
A spokesman said that when wild boars are spotted in an area, they first carry out surveillance. If the situation is assessed to affect public safety, "control operations will be carried out".
These "control operations" are ongoing in the Punggol area, but no wild boar has been caught so far.
Mr Louis Ng, chief executive of Animal Concerns Research & Education Society, noted that the boars may have been flushed out from their jungle habitat, which has been removed to make way for housing in the area.
"The Punggol area has a lot of vegetation, so the wild boars might have been displaced when the area was cleared," he said.
"The boars are caught in the middle when we expand our footprint."
He advised members of the public not to approach them even if they want to take pictures. He added that sudden movements will startle them and that they can get defensive if they are with piglets.
I used to think that everyone was safe here as it is so far from the main road and so many people come down here every day.
- Punggol resident Anna Gordeeva