Ensure volunteers don't hurt conservation efforts

I applaud the work done by the Nature Society (Singapore) in the conservation of horseshoe crabs and promotion of citizen science ("Nature Society on mission to save horseshoe crabs"; Oct 10).

The Nature Society (Singapore) actively encourages citizen science through the recruitment of volunteers and the opening up of conservation efforts to the public, such as having volunteers participate in the research and rescue of horseshoe crabs at the Mandai mudflats.

However, citizen science must be carefully managed in order to better balance the positives and drawbacks of such efforts.

In the case of the horseshoe crab research and rescue programme, the engagement of volunteers must be balanced with the potential loss caused by volunteers accidentally stepping on the crabs in the mudflats.

The Nature Society (Singapore) might consider limiting the number of new volunteers at each monthly session to achieve a better volunteer to "regular" ratio, thereby providing more hands-on guidance while in the mudflats.

Benjamin Lee Wen Sheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2016, with the headline 'Ensure volunteers don't hurt conservation efforts'. Subscribe