Grouses about snakes, birds and monkeys on the rise

Grouses about snakes, birds and monkeys on the rise
A monkey perched on a ledge of an HDB block in Bukit Panjang. Photo: Raj Nadarajan/TODAY

Grouses about snakes, birds and monkeys on the rise

SINGAPORE — There has been an increase in the number of complaints about snakes and birds since 2013, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) revealed, while complaints against monkeys have been falling despite a rise last year.

Last year, the AVA received about 7,860 complaints about birds (up from about 4,360 in 2013) and about 850 for snakes (compared to about 220 in 2013). For monkeys, the number of complaints went down from about 1,870 in 2013 to 750 in 2015, before rising to 910 last year.

A spokesperson from AVA 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.”

The authority said that the increased feedback could be due to a greater awareness of its role as a first-responder for animal-related issues, which it took up in 2012.

The spokesperson stressed that AVA’s priority in its approach to managing 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.

In cases where animals enter premises and destroy property, injure residents, or are potential carriers of disease, it would work with the relevant parties to explore 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 added.

In other measures, it has embarked on various studies, including trials on the effectiveness of bird contraceptives in managing the pigeon population.

It also routinely conducts surveillance and keeps track of the feedback received to understand which areas have greater human-wildlife interaction.