20 Pigeons Found Dead In Yishun, Town Council Says Population Management Necessary To Protect Residents

Pigeons Left Lying On Ground Ater Culling In Yishun

On 22 May, a woman found over 20 pigeons dead between two blocks in Yishun.

Source: Sayang Our Singapore’s Community Cats on Facebook

The woman had seen “lots of birds dead” along the blocks and several more on the verge of death.

When she asked the cleaner what happened, she was told that the pigeons were “given medicine”.

In response to the incident, Nee Soon Town Council said it would continue to explore sustainable ways to control the pigeon population in its town.

Pigeons found dead at Yishun blocks

The Straits Times (ST) identified the person who found the pigeons as Ms Aishah.

She had found them on grass patches as well as the common areas between Block 436 and Block 438 Yishun Avenue 11.

Source: Sayang Our Singapore’s Community Cats on Facebook

Following her post, she contacted the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore) (ACRES) for help.

Source: Sayang Our Singapore’s Community Cats on Facebook

ACRES arrived at the scene within an hour, ST reported.

Ms Aishah told ST that it was her first time seeing dead pigeons in the area, and called it “sad and inhumane” to see around 20 birds lying around in close proximity to other people, as well as pets.

“Some of the kids who were playing where the birds were found were very young, maybe less than four years old,” she added.

Pigeons transmit wide range of diseases

In response to media queries by MS News, NSTC said it is aware of the incident and has addressed the resident’s concerns through email.

“NSTC is always looking at ways to improve on our services and address different concerns across the segments of residents,” NSTC added.

It noted that pigeons are known to transmit a wide range of diseases through their droppings. Those with lower immunity might be at higher risk of getting infected.

“To address conflicting demands of residents on such issues and to protect our residents from getting sick due to the bacteria in the pigeon droppings, NSTC takes an active and balanced approach to manage the pigeon population in our town.”

They include measures such as using spikes to prevent pigeons from nesting and roosting, as well as ongoing public education efforts to discourage pigeon feeding and ensure food waste is properly disposed of.

But there are still too many pigeons in the town.

“Nee Soon GRC ranks among the lowest in resident satisfaction relating to bird nuisance at 52% compared to the National Average of 60% in an independent survey conducted by Municipal Services Office in Q4 2022,” NSTC said.

Despite NSTC’s efforts to manage the pigeon population, residents remain unsatisfied, it added.

Some pigeons were not removed during a recent pigeon treatment operation, and town council workers are equipped with the necessary skills and methods to handle and remove pigeons properly during these operations, and to maintain general cleanliness afterwards.

It encourages residents who notice affected pigeons to contact the town council.

“NSTC is also in touch with ACRES. We will partner with ACRES to find a holistic solution to improve the pigeon overpopulation issue in Nee Soon,” it said, without naming possible solutions.

ACRES calls for stop to toxin use

According to ACRES co-chief executive Anbarasi Boopal, 20 pigeons were found dead, while another seven were rescued and treated.

Ms Anbarasi and her team suspect that the drug alpha-chloralose (AC) had been fed to the birds due to their symptoms.

She noted that ACRES has rescued “over 1,000 poisoned birds” since 2021. This is even though Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann told Parliament that NParks had been working with town councils to move away from the use of toxins as well as humane animal control measures.

Ms Anbarasi hopes NEA will continue to put in more measures, such as reducing the food intake of the pigeons and stopping residents from feeding them.

“Culling them without reducing food sources will cause an increase in population, as more food will be available for fewer pigeons to breed successfully,” she told ST.

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Featured image adapted from Sayang Our Singapore’s Community Cats on Facebook.

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