Forum: Hard to enforce proposed tweaks to wildlife Act

A photo of an otter family taken at Gardens by the Bay East.
A photo of an otter family taken at Gardens by the Bay East.ST PHOTO: KANG YEN THIING

Citizens do not need to be alienated from nature - it is counterproductive to nurturing conservation interests in the younger generation (Proposed tweaks to wildlife Act need further consideration, by Mr Lee Chiu San, March 11).

The vagueness of the proposed tweaks would also make enforcement a nightmare. Would a child using a light trap to attract insects out of curiosity be guilty of a crime?

A more rational and feasible approach is to develop a list of nationally protected species, whereby any form of harvest or even harassment would be deemed illegal.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species and Singapore Red List of threatened plants and animals are useful resources that could help with formulating such a list.

Enforcement based on such a list would be a more pragmatic approach.

Anything outside of nature reserves and not on the nationally protected list should not lead to taxpayers' money being wasted on enforcement.

Wildlife refers to all animals that occur in the wild, even aquatic species like crabs and clams that people eat.

Countries that wish to regulate harvest for recreational or consumption purposes come up with fishery permits and personal allowances.

It is a draconian idea to totally ban the harvest of common wildlife species by children and citizens, and seems somewhat more of an attempt to spread the animal rights agenda.

The animal rights agenda must not be allowed to influence policy decision in Singapore, as the arguments for change are usually emotive and not based on actual scientific or statistical data.

Policy influenced by such agenda will eventually threaten the legal international trade in wildlife.

Lastly, I question the accuracy of the Reach survey on wildlife management in Singapore.

How was this survey publicised initially and who were actually informed? The views of just over a thousand respondents cannot statistically represent the views of the nation with a population of about 5.7 million people.

Ong Junkai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2020, with the headline 'Hard to enforce proposed tweaks to wildlife Act'. Print Edition | Subscribe