3 men spotted digging for shellfish at Sungei Buloh

This article is more than 12 months old

The sight of three men seemingly scooping up shellfish at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve stunned a nature guide who was visiting the place over the weekend.

Mr Ben Lee, who works full-time at Nature Trekker, quickly informed the National Parks Board (NParks).

An officer arrived and confiscated plastic bags with the molluscs from the trio.

Mr Lee, 54, a frequent visitor to the wetlands, told The Straits Times that he saw three men digging and scooping shellfish into large plastic bags around 5.20pm on Sunday. They did so for about 30 minutes.

One of the men looked to be in his late 40s, while the other two appeared to be their 20s.

He said the men most likely dug up the molluscs for sale or personal consumption.

He added: "A nature reserve is a place for the preservation and protection of wildlife, and such illegal activities should not be allowed to happen."

NParks acting group director for conservation Adrian Loo said yesterday that the confiscated shellfish were returned to the mudflats.

NParks is investigating the incident, he added.

Dr Loo also said that signs are displayed prominently informing people not to remove plants and animals from parks and nature reseves. In doing so, they may disrupt the ecological balance, he added.

Under the Parks and Trees Act, people who remove, capture, cause disturbance or displacement of any plant or animal in national parks and nature reserves can be fined up to $50,000. NParks said 73 notices of offence have been issued this year for poaching in parks and nature reserves.