The National Parks Board (NParks) and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, has announced that they will be carrying out ‘Operation No Release’ on 6-7 May and 13-14 May.
In a statement, the authorities said that the initiative aims to raise public awareness on the harmful impact of releasing animals into parks (including ponds), nature areas, reservoirs and waterways (click here for full list of locations).
“The agencies, with the help of volunteers, will be keeping a lookout for any sign of animal release, and will educate and advise members of the public about the dangers of releasing animals into the wild,” it said.
Mr Wong Tuan Wah, Group Director of Conservation, NParks, said, “Releasing animals that have been bred and kept in captivity harms them and our ecosystem. These animals will find it difficult to fend for themselves in the wild and are unlikely to survive, as they seldom have the skills required to survive in their new, unfamiliar surroundings.”
“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. This is particularly so for our nature reserves, which have more sensitive ecosystems, and animals released into waterways outside of the nature reserves would still have adverse effects if those waterways lead into the nature reserves,” he added.
Mr Ridzuan Ismail, PUB’s Director of Catchment and Waterways, said, “Aquatic ecosystems are complex and dynamic as the organisms living in them are often interdependent. 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.”
“We strongly urge members of the public against releasing animals into our reservoirs and waterways,” he stated.
Ms Jessica Kwok, Group Director of AVA’s Animal Management Group reminds pet owners that a pet is a lifetime commitment, saying, “It is irresponsible and cruel to abandon pets. Pets may not survive in the wild as they usually lack the natural instincts and ability to find food or fend for themselves.”
“Pet owners who are unable to look after their pet anymore should find a suitable home for their pet. They can also approach an animal welfare group for help to re-home their pet,” she added.
The authorities stressed that offenders caught releasing animals may be charged under the Parks and Trees Act and could be fined up to $50,000.