Proposed Bill will protect wildlife from ignorant nature lovers

People hiking along the Rifle Range Link.
People hiking along the Rifle Range Link.PHOTO: ST FILE

In arguing that the proposed Bill on wildlife may penalise nature lovers, the many examples Mr Lee Chiu San cited focused on the actions of responsible, knowledgeable people (Proposed Bill on wildlife may penalise nature lovers, Aug 27).

Unfortunately, I have seen many uninitiated "nature lovers" feeding birds and fish with cooked rice, white bread or even leftover food. These may not only make the wildlife ill but also wreak havoc on the ecosystem.

It was reported in a BBC news article that rotting bread exacerbates naturally occurring surface algae which can give off toxins damaging to fish and can deny sunlight to underwater plants. Decomposing bread also creates bacteria and attracts vermin, especially rats, whose urine transmit Weil's disease, which can be deadly to people.

There is no need in Singapore for the setting up of feeding stations for wildlife, as they do not have to contend with cold winters that make the foraging for food by wildlife in nature difficult. We can, anyway, "feed" butterflies and birds by planting flowering trees.

In all my decades of observing nature in my backyard or a nearby park, I have never had to provide a single morsel of food to "attract" wildlife.

A plethora of garden birds from tiny sunbirds to larger orioles can always be seen throughout the year feeding on naturally-occurring food like nectar, seeds and insects.

Mr Lee is also concerned that he could be prosecuted under the new proposed law if he traps a monitor lizard that strays into his house and releases it elsewhere. The proposed amendments can always provide for exceptions in cases when someone is genuinely rescuing wildlife. There is also good reason why releasing of wildlife would be better left to authorised and trained personnel, as a mishandled rescue attempt could stress or injure the reptile in this example.

I see Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng's proposed amendments as necessary to prevent detrimental actions by the ignorant or irresponsible to protect our wildlife and ecosystem.

Agnes Sng Hwee Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2019, with the headline 'Proposed Bill will protect wildlife from ignorant nature lovers'. Print Edition | Subscribe