Wildlife protection laws should consider intent, not just action

Laws to further protect wildlife should not be passed solely on the misconception that the general public is ignorant about wildlife (Amending law will boost wildlife protection efforts, by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres); July 8).

How such laws are put into effect affects the operational efficiency of wildlife rescue groups such as Acres.

It should take into account the intent of the act, and not solely the action.

For example, removing a trapped mynah fledgling from the drain can be done by any person, without the need to activate Acres, whose resources can be saved for more meaningful operations involving wild boars or macaques.

When there is a focus on saving individual animals because of the belief that all animals are sentient, the interests of the natural ecosystem will be compromised.

The mention of some threats to wildlife in Singapore, such as unethical photography practices, may come across as nitpicking on small issues.

Invasive and non-native wildlife also do not deserve to be accorded protection, as they compete with local wildlife and public assistance should be sought to have them removed.

Educators should be concerned about whether they are actually promoting respect for wildlife or fear, especially for animals often stigmatised, such as snakes.

This is important during the early years of a child's development, as fear of such misunderstood groups of animals can develop.

Handling wildlife outside of nature reserves should not be criminalised, as long as no physical harm comes directly to such animals.

This was exactly what naturalist David Attenborough is concerned about. The act of enforcing "appreciation from a distance" is a sure way to reduce potential naturalists over the years. To not heed the advice of the world's most renowned naturalist would be foolish.

Junkai Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'Wildlife protection laws should consider intent, not just action'. Print Edition | Subscribe