Think Again Before You Release Them
09 May 2006
Release of animals into the wild does more harm than good
9 May 2006 - With Vesak Day approaching, NParks and PUB, the national water agency, remind the public not to release animals into nature reserves and reservoirs. While releasing these animals may be well-intentioned, it actually does the animals more harm than good. It also upsets the ecological balance.
Ms. Sharon Chan, Assistant Director of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, explains, ""Many of the released animals, such as rabbits and hamsters, will not survive in the wild as they do not have the natural instincts and ability to forage for food or fend for themselves."" It is estimated that 90% of released animals die within a day.
As the released animals are generally not native to Singapore, those that survive can adversely affect the local ecology. For example, the red-eared terrapins are known to breed prolifically and compete with local terrapins for food and space.
Releasing animals into our reservoirs also affects our water quality. Said Mr Yap Kheng Guan, PUB's Director for 3P Network Department, ""We understand the good intentions behind releasing these animals into the reservoirs. However, the released animals rarely survive and their decomposed bodies affect the water quality.""
To raise public awareness on the harm of releasing animals into the nature reserves and reservoirs, NParks will be working with nature and religious groups as well as volunteers to conduct educational and outreach activities. Brochures will be distributed and posters put up to help spread the message. Staff and volunteers will also be stationed at various locations to encourage and advise people not to release animals.
Similarly PUB's rangers and its MacRitchie Volunteers will be at MacRitchie Reservoir as well as other locations to stop people from releasing animals into the reservoirs and to help educate the public on the detrimental effects of such acts on our water quality.
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