Most Singaporeans support ban on feeding of wild animals
Poll on proposed changes to wildlife protection laws released
Almost three-quarters of Singaporeans polled feel the feeding of wild animals should be banned.
More than four-fifths also believe animals should not be released into the wild without a permit, based on a poll by government feedback website Reaching Everyone for Active Citizenry @ Home from June to July. The results were released yesterday.
More than 1,000 Singaporeans gave their feedback to 11 questions on proposed amendments to the Wild Animals and Birds Act (Waba).
In February, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng announced he would propose amendments to the Act through a private member's Bill in Parliament to better protect wildlife in Singapore.
Waba was enacted in the 1960s with little revision since and does not protect invertebrates - animals without a backbone - such as the endangered horseshoe crab. Some of these amendments, also announced yesterday, include bringing certain invertebrates under the protection of the law, as well as banning the feeding of wild animals.
In the survey, 66 per cent of respondents felt current penalties are not adequate to deter offenders, and 90 per cent felt penalties for repeat offenders need to be more severe.
Mr Ng said: "Currently, animals receive a full suite of protection when they are in nature reserves and national parks. The problem is that the animal loses some protection once the animal leaves the nature reserves and national parks. This is the gap we are trying to fill in the amendments to the Wild Animals and Birds Act,
"Ultimately, the animals don't know where the boundaries of nature reserves and national parks lie, and the same animal should receive the same protection regardless of where the animal is."
Members of the public will have more opportunities to share their views on the proposed amendments after the Bill has been drafted and before it is read in Parliament.
The deputy chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, Mr Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan, said: "On a daily basis we see animals being fed outside the nature reserve, which draws them even farther into public spaces and causes conflicts to start. The proposed amendments to Waba will help in this critical area."
In a joint statement yesterday, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore and the National Parks Board said: "We are encouraged by the public's active participation in the consultation.
"Their feedback is useful and will be considered in the review of animal-related regulations and processes."