Civet not first case of animal injured by blow darts, more than 12 pigeons found in similar state over past year: Wildlife group

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File photo of darts in pigeons
Last year, a wildlife rescue group found two pigeons with blowgun darts in their bodies. (Photo: Facebook/ACRES)

(Updated: )

SINGAPORE: More than a dozen pigeons in Singapore were sighted with darts embedded in their bodies between February 2020 and March 2021, said the Urban Wildlife Working Group (UWG) on Saturday (May 22). 

In a joint statement about the case of a palm civet found dead in Kembangan on Thursday, UWG said the dead civet is not the first case of an animal found with injuries from a blow dart. 

“Between February 2020 and March 2021, more than a dozen pigeons in Singapore have been sighted with darts embedded in their bodies,” it said. 

Police reports have been filed, highlighting the use of blow darts in public spaces, said UWG. 

UWG cited countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, where a licence is required for the possession and use of blow darts. 

It also called for stern action and law enforcement to prohibit the unlicensed sale, possession and use of blow pipes and darts.  

READ: Blowgun darts found in pigeons in Jurong West: ACRES

Blow pipes and darts consist of a hollow tube through which a needle-tipped dart is projected. These can be deployed from a distance and inflict traumatic injury and potentially grevious death. 

“Untrained use of such instruments can pose serious risk and danger to the user and other people, especially children,” said the group. 

The UWG is made up of representatives from the Wildlife Reserves Singapore, National Parks Board (NParks), Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), the National University of Singapore, and other organisations and independent parties. 

On Thursday, a palm civet was found dead with a blow dart embedded in its body in a residence in Kembangan. 

UWG said the blow dart was “deeply embedded” in the animal’s chest, which would have caused a painful death with extensive bleeding from the wound. 

The carcass was retrieved by ACRES and given to NParks for a post mortem examination. 

READ: Call of the wild: What happens when you call a wildlife rescuer?

“Causing harm to wildlife and cruelty to animals is prohibited by the Wildlife Act and the Animals and Birds Act respectively.

“UWG is prepared to work closely with the relevant authorities to further address these intentional acts of harm to our native wildlife and prevent recurrence of such incidents,” said the group. 

NParks is currently investigating the cases of the darted pigeons as well as the civet, it added. 

The group also urged members of the public to call NParks’ Animal Response Centre at 1800 476 1600 and ACRES’s wildlife rescue hotline at 9783 7782 in conflict situations. 

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