Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Wed 10 Dec 2003

Protection from whom?

Category : Singapore Naturalist

On 10th November 2001, Mr Mah Bow Tan announced the impending legislation of Labrador Nature Area (and Sungei Buloh Nature Park) as Nature Reserves under the National Parks Act. A momentous announcement indeed. I had started sending sms' out to all my friends! Funny how the press didn't really catch on and let slip another golden goose.

In a recent speech at the Intellectual Property and Biological Resources Conference on 1st Dec 2003, A/P Ho Peng Kee, the Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs cited Labrador (and Sungei Buloh) as an example of the Singapore government's efforts in protecting its natural heritage. And well he should.

But despite lofty ideals, things on the ground have not been right on the Labrador coastline. And a forum page letter yesterday has said as much:

The Straits Times, 9th Dec 2003

"Don't strip Labrador Park's marine life"

I WAS at Labrador Park on the afternoon of Hari Raya Puasa, Nov 25, and I was saddened and angry at what I saw.

It was low tide and parents and their children were catching young copper-band butterfly fish. Other visitors helped themselves to corals.

Parents were telling their kids to catch more of the butterfly fish even though the fish would die very soon. Even experienced fish-keepers find it difficult to keep the adult ones alive for long.

One man lugged a big piece of brain coral to a trolley and wheeled it to his car, oblivious to the people watching him.

No park rangers were around, it being a public holiday.

Until Singaporeans learn to appreciate and treasure their natural heritage, the authorities should station rangers at the beach during low tide. A surveillance camera would also be useful.

Those caught plundering nature should not get away scot-free. During my numerous coral-watching trips there, those caught by rangers were just given verbal warnings.


Copyright @ 2003 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Well done letter writer!

This has raised the attention to a worrying problem that many of us had hoped would be solved by the impending legislation. On 21 Jul 2003, Teh Jen Lee of The New Paper had highlighted the jump in seizures of illegal corals. But the Labrador situation is poaching, covered (one hopes) under a different law and enforcement agency altogether. This is a problem that existed before Chek Jawa only to be repeated there. It seems a ranger may not be all that is needed.

Posted at 4:13PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .