SINGAPORE - A public awareness exercise on the dangers of releasing animals into parks, ponds, nature areas and reservoirs will be held in 17 parks, nature reserves and reservoirs.
The National Parks Board (NParks) and PUB, Singapore's national water agency, will lead the campaign "Operation No Release" which will be held on two weekends, May 7 and 8 and May 14 and 15, the two agencies said in a joint statement.
They will keep a lookout for signs of animal release and educate members of the public on the harmful impact of releasing animals into the wild.
"Animals that are bred in captivity or captured from the wild deliberately to be sold are seldom equipped with the skills they need to survive in the wild," said Mr Wong Tuan Wah, Group Director of Conservation at NParks.
"They would find it difficult to fend for themselves, especially in an unfamiliar environment and many are unlikely to survive," he said.
Mr Wong added that the ones that manage to adapt to their new surroundings may outcompete native species for resources, disrupting the delicate ecological balance.
Mr Ridzuan Ismail, PUB's director of Catchment and Waterways, added: "Non-native species may introduce novel parasites and diseases into our native environment and waters, which may have impact on freshwater ecosystems and water quality."
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority said in a statement that being pet owners are lifetime commitments. Those who are unable to look after their pet should find a suitable home for them or approach an animal welfare group for help to re-home their pet.
First-time offenders caught releasing animals may be charged under the Parks and Trees Act and could be fined up to $50,000, jailed up to six months, or both.