Illegal poaching cases on the rise in Singapore, NParks figures show

SINGAPORE - Cases of illegal poaching in Singapore's parks and nature reserves appear to be on the rise, with the National Parks Board (NParks) handing out 273 notices of offences for it in 2014, up from just 106 notices in 2012.

Almost all of the notices given out in the past three years were due to illegal fishing. The poaching of other animals and plants made up just 21 out of the 570 cases in total.

NParks provided these figures on Tuesday in response to queries. It is now investigating a case of illegal fishing within the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Sunday, which was reported by a member of the public.

It said that the people involved were questioned at the scene, and the net that they used was also confiscated. It was unable to provide more information as the investigations are ongoing.

The agency said that it conducts regular enforcement patrols against poaching, including at night, with the help of a group of trained volunteers. "When our officers on patrol spot people outside of the reserve boundary attempting to enter the reserve to set up nets, we work together with the police to advise them not to continue their activities," it said.

Under the Parks and Trees Act, anyone who removes an animal or plant from a national park or nature reserve without permission can be fined up to $50,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both, upon conviction.