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  Today Online 6 Oct 07
Wild boar trapped by poachers on SAF land dies

Channel NewsAsia 30 Sep 07
Large trap found in Pulau Ubin, illegal poaching suspected

Today Online 1 Oct 07
Boar traps found in Ubin
NParks gets tough as poaching is on the rise here
Sheralyn Tay

USING one bird as bait, Masod bin Mohamed had hoped to lure and catch more, but the 33-year-old was nabbed in February by the authorities instead.

Masod was arrested at the Mayflower Crescent playground by a National Parks Board (NParks) ranger and, on Sept 11, became the first person here to be charged and convicted of poaching, in a magistrate's court. He was slapped with the maximum penalty a fine of $2,000.

Wildlife experts here say that Masod's case is not an isolated one. Animal activists believe poaching is a problem as wildlife numbers are diminishing.

But the authorities are getting tough.

Since 2000, NParks have issued compound fines to more than 300 people for capturing fishes and animals in parks and nature reserves. Compound fines are meted on the spot, like parking fines.

In August, the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) for the first time fined a poacher $500 for trapping birds in Changi.

Masod's conviction is a signal that they take a firm stand against trapping, especially when it is for personal gain, said Ms Sharon Chan, NParks' assistant director of the central nature reserve.

"Much effort has been put into conserving our natural heritage for the public to enjoy and to make Singapore a unique urban city rich in bio-diversity. We have to take a strong stand against poachers who are destroying all these for their own short-term profit."

The AVA only allows the house crow, feral pigeon, purple-backed starling, Philippine glossy starling, common myna and the white-vented myna to be trapped and kept without a licence.

Hot spots for poachers include Pasir Ris Park, Khatib Bongsu and Seletar Airbase, and common targets for poachers are freshwater fish, flying lemurs and water monitor lizards as well as songsbirds, which are either sold or kept as pets.

But small animals are not the only ones being trapped. Last weekend, Mr Ben Lee, founder and head of Nature Trekker, a non-profit organisation, discovered a large boar trap in the foliage on Pulau Ubin.

On Saturday, he found a second trap (picture) large enough to hold 25 men.

"I mistook it for someone's house," he said, adding that in most cases, boars were often caught to be eaten.

However, Mr Grant Pereira, head of the Green Volunteers Network, noted that the traps may have been set by farmers to control the large boar population, which wreak havoc on crops. "But it's a slippery slope; once you start trapping, it can become exploitative," he said.

Poaching, he added, has affected wildlife numbers. In the last 30 years, the numbers of birds and fishes have been diminishing. According a recent study by bird watchers, 44 bird species have become extinct.

"We need more awareness, and more incentive for people to report traps when they see them," Mr Pereira said.

Seen a trap or a poacher? Report it to the NParks Helpline at 1-800-4717 300 or the AVA at 6227 0670.

Channel NewsAsia 30 Sep 07
Large trap found in Pulau Ubin, illegal poaching suspected

SINGAPORE: A nature lover had a rude shock when he went on a trip to Pulau Ubin recently. Ben Lee, founder of Nature Trekker a non-profit organisation dedicated to nature appreciation in Singapore took pictures of a trap that was more than 2 metres (7 feet) high and was set deep in the forest.

According to him, the cage was big enough to house 15 wild boars and could be used for illegal poaching. He also saw a man walking out of the forest with a sharp sickle. Mr Lee has reported the incident to the National Parks Board.

NParks said it is illegal to carry out poaching activities in Pulau Ubin, parks and nature reserves. - CNA/so

Today Online 6 Oct 07
Wild boar trapped by poachers on SAF land dies

EVEN as the authorities have started getting tough on poachers, there's still much to be done in the quest to conserve wildlife.

A wild boar snared in a trap set in the forested area opposite the Police K-9 Dog Unit base in Mowbray Road, off Choa Chu Kang Way, died, according to Mr Louis Ng, executive director of animals welfare group The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres). The area also is one of the training grounds used by the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF).

"By the time I reached there at 9am, the snare hooked onto the leg and the more the wild boar struggled, the grip was tightened and ate into its flesh," Mr Ng said on Friday.

It is not known who set the trap.

Mr Ng said: "It is quite shocking to know that people are setting up traps in restricted areas. We usually hear of wild boar traps in places like Pulau Ubin."

Since 2000, the National Park Board (NParks) have issued compound fines meted on the spot like parking fines to more than 300 people for catching fishes and animals in parks and nature reserves.

On Monday, Today first reported the case of Masod Mohamed who became the first person here charged and convicted of poaching.

He was caught by an NParks ranger for trying to lure songbirds. On Sept 11 he became the first person slapped with a maximum penalty of $2,000.

Under the Wild Animals and Birds Act, anyone who kills, takes or keeps any wild animal or bird, other than those specified in the Schedule, without a licence from the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and to forfeiture of the animal or bird.

But as the Mowbray Road incident was on SAF grounds, the matter comes under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act.

Offenders are liable to be fined $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both. Mindef did not respond to Today's queries by press time.

Related articles on poaching in our wild places and Pulau Ubin
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