Poaching is the illegal taking of wild animals from their natural habitat. In Singapore, the animals most commonly being poached appear to be birds for the pet trade (such as spotted doves, zebra doves, bulbuls and shamas), and also monitor lizards, pangolins and wild boars for their meat. Some other types of animals, such as macaques or squirrels, may be taken from the wild by some people to be kept as pets. Poaching can occur in any of Singapore’s green areas, including nature reserves and parks. Poaching activities have also been documented in areas around HDB flats and natural areas just outside the city. Poachers trap animals using different types of equipment, including snares, traps, cages and nets.
How to Identify Traps and Poachers
Poaching and the law
Removal of most species of wild animal from the wild in any areas is against the law in Singapore under the Wild Animals and Birds Act. Additionally, wild animals in national parks and nature reserves get extra protection under the Parks and Trees Act 2005, which prohibits the poaching of any animals in these areas. For full details of laws in Singapore relating to poaching, please see below.
How do I know when poaching activity is going on?
If you spot any traps, snares and nets, these are a sure sign that poaching is taking place. These may be positioned on the ground or hanging from the branches of trees. You may even find trapped animals. You might also hear a high volume of bird calls in a particular spot, which can be coming from trapped birds. Bird poachers are most likely to be active in the mornings and evenings, as this is when birds are most active. You can see some of the traps that poachers use in the following photographs:
What do I do if I see poaching activities?
1. Collect information.
Take photographs and, if possible, video evidence of the traps, any animals caught in the traps, and the poachers themselves. If the poachers are using a vehicle, note the license plate number and take a photograph of it.
2. Call the authorities.
If you are sure that you are inside a protected area, such as a national park or nature reserve, alert the Nparks (National Parks Board) rangers immediately by calling their Hotline 1800 4717300. If you are not inside a national parks or nature reserve or are unsure, you can call the local police on the following numbers:
|Jurong Police Divisional HQ||1800 - 791 0000|
|Bedok Police Divisional HQ||1800 - 244 0000|
|Central Police Divisional HQ||1800 - 224 0000|
|Ang Mo Kio Police Divisional HQ||1800 - 218 0000|
|Clementi Police Divisional HQ||1800 - 774 0000|
|Tanglin Police Divisional HQ||1800 - 391 0000|
|Airport Police||65 - 6546 0000|
You can also call the AVA (Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority) Hotline at 1800 2262250 or contact them at + 65 68052992. If you are not able to contact any of the above numbers, you can contact the ACRES Wildlife Crime Hotline on +65 97837782. Please note that, although we are not an enforcement agency, we will come to the site and wait for the authorities to arrive if you are unable to wait.
3. Do not release any trapped animals yourself. Wait until the authorities arrive.
4. Do not leave the site until the authorities arrive.
Try to not let the poachers leave and take their traps. If they do leave but leave their traps behind, stay with the traps until the authorities come and remove them. If you must leave, please call the ACRES Wildlife Crime Hotline on +65 97837782 and we will come to the site and wait for the authorities to arrive.
5. In an effort to assist the authorities with clamping down on illegal poaching activities, ACRES keeps records of poaching activities in Singapore.
Please forward your evidence of poaching activities to ACRES for documentation purposes.
Penalty for killing or keeping wild animals or birds without licence
Under the Wild Animals and Birds Act:
Penalty for killing or keeping wild animals or birds without licence
5. —(1) Any person who kills, takes or keeps any wild animal or bird, other than those specified in the Schedule, without a licence shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and to the forfeiture of the wild animal or bird.
Penalty for certain offences
8. A person who —
- (a) kills or takes or has in his possession the body of any wild animal or bird killed or taken in contravention of an order made under section 3 (a);
- (b) takes, destroys or has in his possession the eggs of any wild bird during the time of the year which has been declared under section 3 (a) to be the time during which such a bird shall not be killed, or during the breeding season declared under section 3 (b) in respect of such a bird;
- (c) kills or takes any wild animal or bird, the killing or taking of which is prohibited under the provisions of this Act;
- (d) nets, snares or takes by means of any contrivance any wild animal or bird which has been prohibited under section 3 (d) from netting, snaring or taking by means of any contrivance; or
- (e) exposes or offers for sale or exports any wild animal or bird other than those specified in the Schedule or the skin or plumage of any such wild animal or bird, unless he can show that the animal or bird was lawfully killed or taken, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and to the forfeiture of the wild animal or bird.
Setting of spring guns, etc.
9. Any person who sets, places or prepares or causes to be set, placed or prepared any spring gun, engine, pitfall, sharpened stake or other contrivance likely to endanger human life or inflict grievous hurt, except for the purpose of destroying some noxious wild animal with the written permission of the Director-General or the Commissioner of Police, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
Under the Parks and Trees Act:
Restricted activities in respect of animals, etc., in national park and nature reserve
9.—(1) No person shall, except with the approval of the Commissioner granted under section 12 and in accordance with the terms and conditions of such approval, carry out any of the following activities within any national park or nature reserve:
- (a) capture, displace or feed any animal;
- (b) disturb or take the nest of any animal;
- (c) collect, remove or wilfully displace any other organism;
- (d) use any animal, firearm, explosive, net, trap, hunting device or instrument or means whatever for the purpose of capturing any animal; or
- (e) carry or have in the person’s possession any explosive, net, trap or hunting device.
(2) No person shall carry out any activity within any national park or nature reserve which he knows or ought reasonably to know causes or may cause injury to, or the death of, any animal or any other organism within the national park or nature reserve. (3) No person shall, except with the approval of the Commissioner granted under section 12, and in accordance with the terms and conditions of such approval —
- (a) bring or release or cause any animal to be brought or released into a nature reserve; or
- (b) permit any domestic animal to stray into a nature reserve.
(4) Any person who contravenes subsection (1), (2) or (3) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine of $500 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction.