Written Answer by Ministry of National Development on mitigating bird pest issues such as the over-population of crows and pigeons
Apr 5, 2021
Ms Carrie Tan: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether there is an eco-system approach to mitigating bird pest issues such as the over-population of crows and pigeons; and (b) how long has the “non-feeding” approach been running in various constituencies and how effective have they been so far.
Ms Ng Ling Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether greater deterrence can be imposed to discourage feeding of pigeons in HDB estates; and (b) whether any research is on-going to find new strategies to tackle the perennial problem of a growing number of pigeons in many estates.
Members have asked about NParks’ pest bird management strategies, including the management of crow and pigeon populations in Singapore. NParks adopts a holistic and science-based approach to mitigating pest bird issues, comprising measures such as food source reduction, habitat modification, and population control.
To inform its pest bird management strategies, NParks carries out population studies and surveys to understand the ecology of the birds. For example, a recent study by NParks affirmed that food made available by humans is a key driver of pest bird population growth. There are also ongoing studies to examine how their reproductive biology and factors such as food availability, cleanliness, and building design affect their population.
To reduce the availability of food sources, NParks has been working closely with SFA, NEA, and Town Councils to encourage proper food waste management at food establishments. As part of its education and outreach efforts, NParks also partners Town Councils, MSO, PA, and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to engage feeders. This enables NParks to find out their motivations, address misconceptions, and discourage them from continuing to feed birds. In January 2021, NParks also launched the island-wide “Say No to Feeding Wildlife” campaign to raise awareness on the negative impact of feeding wildlife, including birds.
In tandem with public education and outreach, NParks works closely with agencies and Town Councils to enforce against illegal bird-feeding. This includes measures such as camera surveillance at identified feeding hotspots, and carrying out targeted enforcement operations. Under the Wildlife Act, which came into force on 1 June 2020, NParks has also strengthened its regulatory regime by imposing stiffer penalties for the illegal feeding of wildlife. Offenders can be fined up to $5,000 for the feeding of any wild animal, including pest bird species, up from $500 for feeding pigeons before the Wildlife Act came into force.
We would like to remind the public to be socially responsible, by not feeding pest birds, and by keeping public areas clean and free of food waste. This is the most promising approach for keeping the pest bird population under control.