Your Letters

Amending law will boost wildlife protection efforts

I refer to the letter by Mr Ong Junkai (Extreme wildlife protection laws could hurt conservation; July 1) in which he appears to have misconstrued the point of this effort to amend the laws to further protect wildlife.

Singapore may not be home to "charismatic endangered" wildlife like tigers and elephants, but we still have a rich biodiversity which deserves protection.

Every country has its challenges and the wildlife protection efforts must address them.

Habitat fragmentation is a key threat to Singapore's wildlife, but we must understand that Singapore is transitioning into a "city in a garden". Greening efforts have resulted in wildlife such as otters, civets, macaques and reptiles adapting to urban greenery and no longer being restricted to nature reserves.

Education is key, and we need to know not just what animals we have here but also how to co-exist with them.

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society has come across several cases of wildlife being hurt or trapped due mainly to ignorance and the use of self-made traps.

Removal of wildlife should be strictly regulated, and this is one of the proposed amendments.

Singapore's wildlife faces additional threats from unethical photography practices, human food provision, and nuisance complaints resulting in removal and culling, poaching, and litter.

The tweaks to the law will not isolate our society from nature, but render it better protection.

There is an urgent need to adopt an "appreciate from a distance" approach.

Lastly, I believe Mr Ong has confused wildlife protection with wildlife conservation.

Wildlife protection generally refers to the protection of all wild animals, for example, wild boars and macaques. The latter term is often used to describe conservation efforts of more endangered wildlife.

We must move towards a society that is compassionate towards all wild animals, native or non-native, common or endangered, and adopt strategies to protect all animals, and look into humane ways to manage their populations when required. Amending this legislation will better protect the wild animals in Singapore.

Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan

Deputy Chief Executive

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 08, 2018, with the headline 'Amending law will boost wildlife protection efforts'. Print Edition | Subscribe