Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Ubin Tiger - April 1997

Thanks to news archives of 5tigers.org
"Tiger Talk Taken Seriously By Singapore Authorities"
Reuters World Service 29 April 1997

"It may sound like the stuff of urban legend, but Singapore authorities are taking seriously talk of tigers at large on one of the city state's outlying islands.

State television and the daily Straits Times newspaper said on Tuesday that police had warned residents of Pulau Ubin, located between the main island of Singapore and the coast of Malaysia, to stay indoors at night.

Police have also advised the public to keep away from the island, the Straits Times said.

The warnings came after quarry workers and an island resident separately reported spotting animals that looked like tigers.

 Although some three million people are crammed into Singapore's 648 sq km , Pulau Ubin has just 600 residents, and large patches of swamp, jungle and remnants of old rubber plantations.

Police and experts from the National Parks Board and Singapore Zoological Gardens have searched for the animals but so far found nothing.

But the report gained some credence because the island is within swimming distance of the Malaysian mainland and an elephant turned up on Pulau Ubin in 1991. Tigers disappeared from Singapore by the early 1930s, the last one having been shot in 1932."

"Tiger Reported On The Loose In Singapore"
Deutsche Presse-Agentur. April 25, 1997.

The following text is from an article reporting possible sightings of a tiger in Singapore. "Residents in a wooded area of Singapore claimed Friday to have spotted a tiger on the loose in the densely populated city-state. Police confirmed that officials had been dispatched to search for the animal.

'It's true. People have seen a tiger here,' a shop keeper on the island of Pulau Ubin, a part of Singapore which lies less than one kilometre off the coast of Singapore's mainland, told the German Press Agency dpa.

'Some men came over here to look for it. They had five or six rifles,' the shop keeper, who would identify herself only as Miss Koh, said. Police confirmed that personnel from the Singapore Zoo had gone to the island Friday morning to investigate reports of a roaming tiger.

 'Some officials from the zoo went over and conducted interviews with people who said they saw the tiger,' police spokesman Douglas Yeo said. 'Based on their expert opinions, they think the reports are very unlikely.'

Others said a wild tiger could possibly have reached the island by swimming across the narrow strait separating Singapore from the Malaysian state of Johor.

'Now that Pulau Ubin is being depopulated, wild animals are coming in from Johor,' K.P. Tan, a naturalist who studies flora and fauna in Pulau Ubin's jungles and villages, said.

'There are a lot of wild boar on the island which swim over, and tigers are very good swimmers. If a boar could make it, a tiger certainly could.'

Tan noted a well-documented case in which a wild elephant swam to the island five from Johor five years ago and had to be captured by authorities.

 Pulau Ubin, one of the few largely forested parts of Singapore remaininng, is roughly five kilometres (three miles) long and two kilometres (1.2 kilometres) wide and has about 300 inhabitants, who live in small villages or on farms.

The number of people living on Pulau Ubin has been diminishing in recent years as the government prepares to step up development on the island."

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