Feeding wild animals does more harm than good

Singaporeans need not feed wild animals to cultivate a love for nature (Feeding wild animals will cultivate love for nature, by Mr Lee Chiu San; July 20).

Mr Lee mentioned the ubiquity of feeding stations in Europe and America.

The climatic conditions in these regions mean that there are periods of low food availability due to seasonal variations.

In places like Singapore, where we have a tropical climate and an abundance of food sources all year round, feeding stations are unnecessary and could be harmful to birds and animals.

Moreover, dietary requirements vary from species to species.

Birds, especially, require a diverse array of nutrients. Common foods used in feeders, like fruits, are insufficient for their nutrient needs.

While the act of feeding is fundamentally driven by good intentions, it can lead to implications on conservation, public safety and, most importantly, the welfare of animals.

Such was the case with the feeding of wild pigeons.

With a constant food source available, they congregated and procreated, leading to human-wildlife conflict.

On another note, the phrase "appreciation from a distance" appears to have been misconstrued by many, including Mr Ong Junkai (Wildlife protection laws should consider intent, not just action; July 15).

Contrary to what Mr Ong believes, unethical photography practices do have a considerable impact on our local wildlife.

These animals are essentially wild, and we should keep a distance from them.

The act of nature appreciation can be achieved simply by visiting our parks and nature reserves.

There are also safe avenues for children and adults to handle or feed animals, like the zoo or bird park.

It is innate human nature to care for animals.

But wild animals are not pets, and the act of feeding them or being handled by untrained individuals would often do them more harm than good.

Neeraj Prabakharan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Feeding wild animals does more harm than good'. Print Edition | Subscribe