Notes on Zoom workshop: What to do when we encounter wildlife in Singapore

Notes on “On the Wild Side” Zoom Video Meet

On 15 Oct, I attended an informative talk organised by Ace Adventure Expeditions.

The speakers, Kathy Xu of Dorsal Effect and Kalai of ACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore), shared about how to respond appropriately when encountering wildlife in Singapore.

Understandably, we urbanites aren’t familiar with some of the native wildlife and their ways of life, due to a lack of interaction with them and a lack of education as well.

Hence, it is helpful of the speakers to help create awareness about common mistakes the public tend to make when stumbling a rare or strange animal.

I attended this event because I want to educate myself more on our native wildlife so as to understand how we can better support biodiversity, which is under threat of climate change and habitat destruction in the name of development.

Though my notes are not exhaustive, I hope they will be useful as a reference to my readers.

ACRES sometimes have to deal with non-native animals, due to illegal wildlife trade in Singapore.

Snakes – or reptiles in general – are not pests. They are wild animals protected by law under the Wildlife Acts.

Generally, snakes are gentle and don’t attack without provocation.

Most snakes are active in the morning. If spat in the eyes by a venomous snake, wash your eyes with water instead of rubbing the eyes.

Just because a snake may be venomous doesn’t mean it should be killed on the spot.

Snakes may be attracted to their prey such as rodents in housing estates, so if they are found too close for comfort, say in your house, call ACRES hotline 97837782 for help.

Sunda pangolins are native in Singapore, but they are rare and endangered, no thanks to poachers.

Pangolins are vulnerable and may get run over when crossing roads.

For more info on pangolins, check out the link:
https://singaporepangolinwg.wordpress.com/

If you see a roadkill of a rare animal, contact ACRES or NParks in case they may want to collect the dead body for record and research purposes. (ACRES may take time to respond if they are short of manpower.)

A Malayan colugo (flying lemur) may be helpless if it falls to the ground as it is mainly arboreal – call ACRES for help if you see one in trouble.

Never handle baby mammals that you come across with bare hands because their parents may be nearby and may not respond well to unfamiliar scents.

No matter how cute it is, whether it be a baby squirrel or colugo or palm civet, if the baby mammal appears lost, alone or injured outdoors, don’t bring it home to rear as a pet because it is a wild animal, not a cat or dog.

Instead, call ACRES to rescue and rehab or reunite it with its parents. Meanwhile, find a suitable box to protect the baby mammal.

Avoid hanging nets in the open, as bats may get entangled in them and die.

Monitor lizards are not crocodiles or komodo dragons, and they are generally shy and harmless if unprovoked.

If you take photos of a rare endangered animal, avoid sharing them on social media or avoid mentioning its location to ensure its safety.

Similarly, avoid using baits to take photos of wildlife because it is unethical.

If you encounter an unfamiliar animal such as a snake and are unsure of its exact species and whether it is venomous, seek advice from ACRES because some non-venomous species disguise as venomous ones.

Feeding wild animals and fish, such as sharks or whale sharks, with human foods such as snacks is inadvisable because it can change their diet and behaviour, and the sugar content may be toxic to them.

When walking on the sea shores, avoid picking up shells or hermit crabs to keep because we are stewards of wildlife, not just tourists or visitors.

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