Public reminded not to release animals into the wild, checks to be conducted

Channel NewsAsia 2 May 17;

SINGAPORE: The authorities will be patrolling 18 nature areas such as parks and reservoirs in May, to look out for anyone releasing animals into the wild.

Called Operation No Release, it will be carried out on May 6-7 and May 13-14, which are the weekends before and after Vesak Day, which falls on May 10 this year.

To mark Vesak Day, some Buddhist devotees set free turtles, fish and birds as a symbolic gesture of compassion.

However, releasing animals that have been bred and kept in captivity is harmful to them and the ecosystem, said the National Parks Board (NParks), in a joint news release with national water agency PUB and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Tuesday (May 2).

"These animals will find it difficult to fend for themselves in the wild and are unlikely to survive," said NParks group director of conservation Wong Tuan Wah. "The few that are able to adapt to the new environment may disrupt the ecological balance of our natural habitats by competing with our native species for resources."

The list of 18 nature areas where the agencies will be conducting checks include Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bedok Reservoir, MacRitchie Reservoir Park and the new Windsor Nature Park.

Pet owners who are unable to look after their pets any longer are reminded that they should find a suitable home for the animals, or approach an animal welfare group for help.

Those caught releasing animals may be charged under the Parks and Trees Act and could be fined up to S$50,000.


NParks, PUB teaming up to warn against releasing pets into the wild
Today Online 2 May 17;

SINGAPORE — Ahead of Vesak Day next Wednesday, the authorities will fan out to various nature spots across the island this weekend to educate the public on the dangers of releasing captive animals into the wild.

Volunteers will join officers from the National Parks Board (NParks) and PUB in visiting 18 parks, nature reserves and reservoirs for the initiative, dubbed “Operation No Release”.

The locations they will visit this weekend and next include Dairy Farm Nature Park, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Labrador Nature Reserve and the newly opened Windsor Nature Park, the two agencies and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said in a joint press release on Tuesday (May 2).

To mark Vesak Day, some Buddhists release animals into the wild as a symbolic act of liberation.

The officers and volunteers will look out for signs of animal release, and educate the public about the harmful impact this would have on the ecosystem.

NParks’ group director of conservation Wong Tuan Wah said that not only would the animals have difficulty fending for themselves, but those that do survive “may disrupt the ecological balance of our natural habitats by competing with our native species for resources”.

“The release of non-native species into our waters will not only have an impact on the ecology and water quality of our freshwaters, but may also pose a risk to users of our waterbodies,” added Mr Ridzuan Ismail, PUB’s director of catchment and waterways.

The AVA advises pet owners to approach animal welfare groups if they are unable to re-home their pets, adding that abandoning the animals is “cruel and irresponsible”.

Pet owners who are considering releasing their pets into the wild are reminded that it is an offence chargeable under the Parks and Trees Act. Offenders could be fined up to S$50,000.

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