Post upside down Instagram pictures to help save wildlife from extinction

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin (left) and CEO of Mandai Park Holdings Mike Barclay (right) launch the Together For Wildlife campaign at the Singapore Zoo on March 2, 2018.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin (left) and CEO of Mandai Park Holdings Mike Barclay (right) launch the Together For Wildlife campaign at the Singapore Zoo on March 2, 2018.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - Instagram users can do their part for wildlife conservation by posting upside down pictures of themselves this month and tagging #TogetherforWildlife.

For every such post during the month-long campaign, the Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS) will pledge $1 towards the conservation of endangered wildlife.

Getting people to post pictures of themselves upside down is symbolic of them turning things around for wildlife, which is under siege by poachers in the illegal trade.

They can pledge to make lifestyle changes, such as boycotting animal products and single-use plastics.

Instagram accounts must be unlocked for posts to count.

The park hopes to hit 250,000 posts by March 31. With the $250,000 raised, it will ramp up its existing conservation efforts, said Dr Sonja Luz, WRS director of conservation, research and veterinary services, on Friday (March 2).

CEO of Mandai Park Holdings Mike Barclay said: "Young people are really energetic, they're really persuasive. And if we get a lot of them behind this theme of conservation, it will make a tidal wave of difference."

The initiative is the highlight of a conservation campaign, Together for Wildlife, by the WRS this month, in lieu of World Wildlife Day on Saturday. The campaign hopes to raise public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.

In-park activities, such as pop-up infographic booths and a photo walk, will run through this year in support of the campaign.

Officiated by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin on Friday, the campaign kicked off with a 570m Walk for Wildlife at the Singapore Zoo. Among the participants were 200 preschool children.

A total of 175 land and freshwater vertebrates in South-east Asia are critically endangered, according to the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This year, WRS has at least 27 projects in South-east Asia alone, among them anti-tiger poaching walks in Malaysia and workshops for Sumatran farmers - who often kill orangutans that raid their crops - to better resolve human-orangutan conflicts.

"We know how grave the situation is. We have a tremendous opportunity through our parks, five million visitors, to really bring the message across... Conservation cannot be successful if it's not collaborative," said Dr Luz.

Those keen to learn more about the campaign can visit www.togetherforwildlife.sg.