Endangered animals found abandoned outside Night Safari
Highly-endangered exotic animals were left abandoned outside a service gate at the Night Safari recently, said the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) in a Facebook post yesterday.
WRS, which manages parks including Jurong Bird Park and the Singapore Zoo, also posted photos showing the animals placed in cages and bags.
The critically endangered animals, which included prairie dogs, marmosets and cotton-top tamarins, were "probably meant for the illegal pet trade but something must have gone wrong," said the post, causing the animals to be dumped.
Mr Louis Ng, founder and executive director of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, was upset to hear of the news and said such incidents are quite common.
Speaking to The New Paper over the phone, Mr Ng said: "This is a serious problem. It's not just the animals that you see (in the cages that are suffering), but there are animals that have died while being transported here.
"These animals have travelled very far and all these suffering and deaths happen just because someone wanted a pet.
"It's not their natural habitat so it's hard for them to survive."
He added such actions are not just harmful to the animals. The local ecosystem will also suffer if these wild and exotic animals are released into the environment.
Mr Ng, who is also a Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC, added that while the current legislation for illegal wildlife trade is "strong", more should be done to catch those who engage in such activities.
"As an MP, I would champion the need to strengthen our borders. The penalty is already quite high so with higher chances of getting caught, there will be greater deterrence for people," he said.
Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, permits are required for the import, export and re-exportof any scheduled species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Penalties for infringing the Act include fines of up to $50,000 per scheduled species and/or up to two years' jail.
In the Facebook post, WRS also said: "Each year, hundreds of illegal pets arrive at our doorsteps in this manner or as confiscations. It is a challenge for us to absorb all into our collection, given the limited space and resources we have. You can help by simply not buying illegal pets. If there is no demand, poaching will stop."