Thoughts from Cyrena’s sharing (:

Photo of a White-crested Laughingthrush with rice fed to it (Photo by me)
  • What drew you to this event?

To be very honest, I was quite interested to know firsthand from someone who has had experience talking to people regarding animals professionally, as I also would want to do something similar in the future. Even if it isn’t as a job, I would want to volunteer and go to events to reach out to the public too, so I thought this event would be a great opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of doing so.

  • What are 3 things you learned from this event?

Firstly, what Cyrena mentioned about the bird feeders was a huge thing for me to learn about, as I wouldn’t have known just from a casual birdwatcher perspective. I knew the bird side of things, but not the human side of things when it came to the bird feeder, so getting to know why it happens was good. Next, I learnt about the transtheoretical model to effect change, which is personally quite useful to think through when trying to convince someone to change. Lastly, I have to say that i learnt that this all cannot happen without taking initiative to approach people and teach them more, which is what I hope to achieve in the future ((:

  • Was there anything which surprised you?

The massive undertaking for just one group of birds in one area is what surprised me. Who knew that 1 bird feeder could have such a huge impact, and learning about the case of the bird feeders is also interesting.

  • Having heard from the speaker, what is 1 new insight or question you have about wildlife outreach?

The biggest insight that I have is how treating the people you reach out to as humans can go a long way. Although this seems obvious from first glance, it really is crucial that the people involved feel that they have their views and fears treated seriously, and as a result they would in turn take the response and guidance afterward seriously.

  • What is one strategy you can suggest, to promote human-wildlife coexistence in Singapore? 

In terms of policies, I honestly feel there is no way for the government to force people to understand and coexist with people other than by enforcing laws against animal abuse. However, the government could take a more ground up approach through the education system, by including more local flora and fauna in the curriculum. Though some measures have been taken for this, I still feel it isn’t enough as animals from Africa, thousands of kilometres away, are still more well known to them than our local biodiversity. This way, everyone would have less misconceptions about our biodiversity.

  • How can you, personally, encourage responsible interaction with urban wildlife in Singapore?

Personally I feel that the impact from 1 person is not really that big, but as a birdwatcher that heads into the field a lot, being a good example for the casual parkgoers and beginner nature watchers is really important. This would impact very few people, but it would make a great impact on those people as they would learn firsthand from someone who has had more experiences with urban wildlife.

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