You’ve surely seen it – A person sitting at a park bench, with a flock of cooing pigeons congregating at his feet. He tosses a few bread crumbs towards them, sending them into a frenzy.
Or you may have heard about a recent incident at Lorong Halus, where a man was filmed scattering food for dozens of Wild Boars and piglets.
The animals seem to enjoy the unexpected snack, don’t they?
Feeding wild animals – whether it’s the pigeons at the HDB car park, or a troop of macaques at a Nature Reserve – might seem like an act of goodwill. But over time, it actually brings more harm than good to the animals and people involved. Here are 4 reasons why you should not feed wild animals:
#1 The animals don’t need it
Animals in our Nature Reserves, such as the Long-tailed Macaques and Wild Boars, have been around for a long time. They are perfectly capable of finding the food they need in their natural habitat. And in a tropical (as opposed to temperate) climate like Singapore’s, they’ll have an abundant supply all year round.
#2 It’s not healthy
In general, human food is not nutritious for animals, and could even be detrimental to their health if their bodies are not able to digest it.
#3 It’s not safe, for both people and animals involved
Animals that are accustomed to being fed could eventually be perceived as a nuisance, or even a safety risk to people. They lose their fear of humans and learn to associate them with food instead. In some instances, they could even react aggressively when encountering people who do not provide food. Provision of food could also result in a spike in population levels, which could then pose risks to environmental health and hygiene.
Feeding animals also endangers them, by drawing them to areas with high human traffic. For example, animals that are often fed from vehicles may venture near roads. They risk getting injured or worse, becoming road kill.
#4 It could come at a cost
Singapore’s flora and fauna are protected under the Wildlife Act – wildlife protection laws that were passed in Parliament in March. Under these regulations, feeding of wildlife is illegal, regardless of whether we are in a Nature Reserve or at our housing estates.
Laws aside, the onus should be on us to interact responsibly with wildlife. After all, animals cannot distinguish the boundaries between nature areas and our homes, so let’s learn to appreciate wildlife in a way that is safe for all. In this case, sharing is not caring, so let’s keep our snacks to ourselves.
What are some other things we should or should not do, to coexist in harmony with wildlife? Find out more during Burning Questions LIVE with a Wildlife Educator. RSVP by Sunday 10 May 2020.