The Star/Asia News Network
On top of the problem of immigrants making their way illegally into Melaka via the strait, the state is currently facing another trans-boundary issue – the invasion of wild boars from Indonesia.
Melaka Agriculture, Agro-Based, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Committee chairman Norhizam Hassan Baktee said wild boars were excellent swimmers, but the state never expected them to cross the narrow Strait of Malacca from Sumatra in search of new habitats here.
“The sea-borne invasion of wild boars leaves us in despair as the animal population is increasing in Melaka.
“The mystical island of Pulau Besar here has witnessed widespread damage from the ‘migration' of dozens of these wild boars, including piglets, ” he said on Thursday (Sept 5).
Norhizam said fishermen reported seeing snouts in the dark along the coastal lines of Melaka almost every night.
“Now Melaka is populated with wild boars from Indonesia, ” he said.
He said the number of wild boars could outnumber the human population in Pulau Besar if the situation was not brought under control.
“Pulau Besar seems to be the landing point for the wild boars before they cross over to the areas close to Ujong Pasir in the mainland and other coastal areas, ” he said.
Norhizam said the Melaka’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) was now focusing on eradicating the high population of wild boars on Pulau Besar.
“Perhilitan is bringing in three sharp-shooters on a mission to save Pulau Besar from the wild boar invasion, ” he said.
Norhizam said Pulau Besar was an important site for Melaka and associated with mythical stories. Some of the earliest mentions of the island are in the legend of the Princess of Gunung Ledang.
The fairy princess is said to have accidentally pricked her husband with a poisoned needle while sailing off the coast here and later used Pulau Besar as a stepping stone to fly off to Gunung Ledang.
The islands here are also associated with China’s famous 15th century treasure fleet commandeered by Admiral Zheng He.
Zheng He used Malacca as the forward base for his epic voyages to India, Sri Lanka and beyond to Africa. Part of his fleet was said to have anchored off here.
Pulau Besar is also home to several ancient wells, shrines and graves that have become popular attractions.