Mind your behaviour in nature reserves

The reopening of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is indeed a celebratory occasion for all, and I expect that many members of the public will be eager to visit the revamped reserve ("Bukit Timah reserve reopens after $14m revamp"; Oct 23).

However, even as we do so, let us be mindful and considerate of our behaviour in our nature reserves.

This will ensure that the measures taken to enhance the public's experience in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and prevent further degradation of its biodiversity will not go to waste, and that other nature reserves will not suffer degradation as well.

Being mindful of our behaviour helps us all do our part to protect our nature reserves and ensure that others are also able to have a good experience visiting them.

First, members of the public can have their own rubbish bags with them and dispose of rubbish responsibly, without littering the nature reserves.

Litter can upset the wildlife by cluttering their habitats. The animals could also mistake the rubbish left behind as food. Upon eating it, they could choke, and in some cases die, as they are unable to digest the litter.

Visitors should not feed the animals, such as the macaques, as they do not lack food in the nature reserve. Feeding them diminishes their ability to find their own food, causing them more harm in the long run.

To further protect the animals within the nature reserves, visitors are also advised not to take their dogs with them.

This is because the dogs may disturb the wild animals, and, as dogs are fond of scent-marking their territory, the scents they leave behind may disorient the other wildlife.

Visitors should stay on trails and not venture off marked paths and boardwalks, as doing so may erode the flora of the nature reserves, leading to habitat degradation.

These simple steps can help everyone visiting our nature reserves play a part in safeguarding them, and ensure that our nature reserves remain in good condition, benefiting both humans and wildlife.

Danielle Tan Hwee Ling (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2016, with the headline 'Mind your behaviour in nature reserves'. Print Edition | Subscribe