Forum: Proposed tweaks to Wildlife Act will help local biodiversity thrive

Mr Lee Chiu San suggested that exemptions be made to the complete ban of all feeding of wildlife to conserve them, allowing people to attract birds and other charismatic wildlife species to gardens through measures like feeding tables (Proposed tweaks to Wildlife Act need further consideration, March 11).

There is no practical way of preventing all species of wildlife joining in feeding activities. Once wildlife is fed, they will become accustomed to being fed, and rely too much on being fed.

If all people stop feeding wildlife, wild animals will relearn that their food is found in natural habitats like forests, mangroves, wild grasslands, seashores and marine habitats, and freshwater streams. It is then that they can be truly wild and free, truly conserved.

Wanting to conserve wild animals on a personal level is commendable, but there are other options for biodiversity appreciation, outreach and education than feeding.

The expansion of the Wildlife Act to cover invertebrates is important for several reasons.

First, invertebrates are just as worthy of conservation as charismatic vertebrates as a matter of principle.

Second, continuing to allow unlimited recreational exploitation of the invertebrate populations is unsustainable, especially if the local populations are also stressed at the same time from development and pollution.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved with wildlife may require exemptions from the Act so that they can fulfil their objective of conserving our biodiversity. Most NGOs have professional expertise and guidance to handle animals in an appropriate manner.

The tweaks to the Wildlife Act give local biodiversity a better fighting chance for survival for future generations of Singaporeans to love and appreciate. I invite Mr Lee to participate in other low-impact biodiversity activities whether in organised groups or as a volunteer.

Sia Sin Wei