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Local charity launches Singapore's first dedicated wildlife rescue centre

By Gladys Ow, Channel News Asia

3357 days ago   Article ID# 74384
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Animal Concerns Research and Education Society

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE (Channel News Asia) - More efforts are being made to tackle the illegal wildlife trade in Singapore, which is surpassed only by the trafficking of drugs and weapons.

A new shelter aims to rescue distressed animals and return them to their native homes.

"Blue", a Vervet monkey, is the inspiration for setting up Singapore's first dedicated wildlife rescue centre.

Six years ago, Blue was kept illegally as a pet at a house. But thanks to the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), Blue became Singapore's first-ever primate to be repatriated home to Zambia.

ACRES hopes Blue's story is only the beginning of more successful rescue efforts.

More than 9,000 animals were seized in the last three years.

At ACRES' newly-launched Wildlife Rescue Centre at Chua Chu Kang, protected species found will be nursed back to health, before being returned to their native environment.

However, it is not just about tackling the illegal wildlife trade. ACRES also wants to educate the public on protecting animals and the environment.

"Penny" has a deformed hind leg. Penny would have been put down by the puppy farm she was brought from if ACRES had not rescued her and cared for her.

Penny is now the centre's mascot for education, which ACRES believes is key to ending animal cruelty and illegal wildlife trade.

The charity has worked closely with schools and community groups since 2001. ACRES' education programmes, reaching over 100,000 children and adults every year, encourage compassion and responsible behaviour. It has worked with 83 schools since 2001.

Louis Ng, executive director of ACRES said: "Most importantly, what we want to do at the ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre is to create awareness, which is why the first block you see at the entrance is the Lee Foundation Education Centre.

"It is not just about rescuing the animals; it's really about creating awareness, getting the public involved, getting them interested about this issue. Now we have 18,000 supporters in our database. Is that a sign of progress in Singapore? Without a doubt it is."

Progress did not come easy for ACRES. The building of the centre's main sanctuary area has been delayed because of a pending court decision on a pollution lawsuit.

It has been delayed for about two years and will be delayed by at least another six months. Its contractor had allegedly dumped woodchips onto the site, which caused the discharge of wastewater into a channel linked to the Kranji reservoir.

ACRES is awaiting the decision of the judge on whether the main contractor and its director are liable to ACRES in this regard.

When completed, the centre can hold up to 400 rescued wildlife, including reptiles, primates and native birds. Pets like dogs will be handed over to other organisations like the SPCA.

Copyright 2018 Channel News Asia   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 3357 days ago   Article ID# 74384

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