What to do when you see injured or abandoned wild animals in Singapore

Because this is their home too.

Every now and then, wild animals (such as snakes, monitor lizards, civets, and pangolins) find their way into our urban dwellings and on other instances, we may find exotic animals that used to be pets abandoned by previous owners who decided not to care for them anymore. (P.S. Not cool!)

Here's what you should do on both occasions.

WILD ANIMALS

WHAT DO I DO WHEN I SPOT NATIVE WILD ANIMALS?

The good people at ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) advise the public to leave native wild animals as they are.

"As a city island, these animals have learnt to adapt to the urban environment. As a result, we tend to see them often.

Removing wild animals from their natural habitat is a criminal offence for the majority of species in Singapore."

But what do you do if you are concerned about a wild animal that is obviously in distress or severely injured? You can call the ACRES Wildlife Rescue Hotline on 97837782 and provide the following information:

  • Describe the animal (type of animal, size, colour, markings/distinct features, etc)
  • Describe any injuries
  • Let them know if any other animals are nearby
  • Send a photo of the animal to 9783 7782 via text message or WhatsApp

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE WILD ANIMAL IS INJURED AND NEEDS RESCUING

  1.  When the animal's parent(s) are known to be dead (young, unweaned animals)
  2.  When the animal is in obvious danger
  3.  When the animal is thin, cold, weak, or appears sick
  4.  When there are flies buzzing around or crawling on the animal
  5.  When the animal has been in the mouth of a cat
  6.  When a bird's nest containing chicks has fallen out of a tree and cannot be put back (However if you find a     nest on the ground, put it back into the nearest tree without touching the chicks if possible)

I'VE CALLED ACRES FOR HELP. HOW DO I HANDLE THE ANIMAL IN THE MEANTIME?

  • Try not to pick the animal up with your hands, even if you are wearing gloves.
  • If an animal is severely injured or immobile, simply place a container (with some holes for ventilation over it), slide the lid or a thin board underneath, then gently turn the container so the animal ends up in the bottom and then cap it.

IF YOU ARE BRINGING THE ANIMAL TO ACRES (AT 91 JALAN LEKAR) OR A VET:

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  • Do not turn the radio on in your vehicle when transporting the animal
  • Do not put the animal in the back of a pick-up truck
  • Never put an unconscious animal on the seat of your car or leave it uncontained in your vehicle
  • Use air conditioner sparingly, if at all, because animals in shock cannot regulate their body temperature, and temperature that is too cool could place them in an irreversible shock condition
  • Try to keep conversation to a minimum, and speak in a low voice

DO NOT TRY TO RESCUE WHEN

  • you would endanger yourself or others
  • the animal appears healthy
  • one or both parents are alive
  • the injury has healed and the animal appears to be in good health
  • you have to chase the animal as this will inflict stress on it (try again later and call ACRES for help)

THERE IS A WILD ANIMAL IN MY HOME/GARDEN. HELP!

You can call the ACRES Wildlife Rescue Hotline at 9783 7782. You will need to provide information about the animal (description, size, etc) and send them a photo of it. There will be someone to take your call 24/7.

They do not charge a fee to remove wild animals from your home, although donations are always much appreciated.

EXOTIC ANIMALS

WHY MUST WE REPORT ANY NON-NATIVE WILD ANIMALS FOUND IN SINGAPORE

Exotic wild animals that are illegally sold and kept as pets often cannot survive in Singapore's environment if they are released in parks and nature reserves. These animals may slowly starve to death or succumb to disease.

There is also a possibility they will compete with the native wild animals for resources and tip the balance of our natural ecosystems.

SO WHAT DO I DO WHEN I SPOT EXOTIC WILD ANIMALS?

If you find a non-native wild animal in Singapore, call the ACRES Wildlife Rescue Hotline 9783 7782 and they will dispatch their rescue team to save the animal.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THESE WILD ANIMALS 

For native wildlife, they will be released back into the wild at a suitable site after passing health checks.

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Native reptiles or amphibians that need treatment and time to recover before release will be housed at the ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre (AWRC).

If a rescued native mammal or bird cannot be returned to the wild immediately, they will be handed over to the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority Singapore (AVA) after veterinary treatments.

Reptiles and amphibians rescued from the illegal wildlife trade will have a safe home at the AWRC, and they may be repatriated to rescue centres in their country of origin.

Besides housing injured native wild animals, the AWRC is licensed to host abandoned or surrendered exotic reptiles and amphibians that were once illegal pets in Singapore. Check out some of their rescued animals here.

This article was first published in The Finder