Feeding wild animals will cultivate love for nature

In February, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng announced that he would be proposing changes, including to disallow the feeding of wild animals, to the Wild Animals and Birds Act through a private member's Bill.

If this becomes law, it will drastically set back the promotion of interest in nature. People, especially children, develop an interest in the environment through opportunities to interact with animals and birds.

One of the best ways of doing so is by feeding them. Singaporeans should not be forced to appreciate animals only at a distance.

In Europe and America, many people set up feeders to attract songbirds to their gardens.

This practice is catching on in Singapore. Formerly scarce species such as magpie robins, zebra doves and even hornbills are increasing because home owners in urban and suburban areas feed them. Cute squirrels are more common now because more and more people provide them with food.

And though I have reservations about feeding wildlife in or near HDB flats, on landed property and within private condominiums, doing so is a matter that should be resolved, without the need for any legislation or intrusion by the authorities, entirely between home owners and their neighbours, except in the case of monkeys and species officially designated as pests.

Caring for and appreciating wildlife in Singapore should be permitted to be practised by all, especially when this is done on private property.

Lee Chiu San

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2018, with the headline 'Feeding wild animals will cultivate love for nature'. Print Edition | Subscribe