Singapore: S$3,000 fine for ‘recalcitrant bird feeder’ who fed wild doves, mynahs from her car

Feeding wild birds could pose a serious public health issue. They would be conditioned to rely on food handouts and linger around public housing areas and food businesses, leaving droppings at various places. — TODAY file pic
Feeding wild birds could pose a serious public health issue. They would be conditioned to rely on food handouts and linger around public housing areas and food businesses, leaving droppings at various places. — TODAY file pic

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SINGAPORE, Oct 28 — A 44-year-old woman was fined S$3,000 in a district court yesterday for illegally feeding wild birds on at least five occasions by throwing food out of her car window.

Wendy Kang Mei Ling, a Singaporean, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Wildlife Act, which came into force in June last year after tougher regulations to protect Singapore’s wildlife were passed in Parliament. This includes stricter penalties for feeding wildlife.

District Judge Lorraine Ho took into consideration two other charges for sentencing.

Kang told the court through an interpreter that she has money to pay the fine. If she is unable to, she has to serve 12 days behind bars.

National Parks Board (NParks) prosecutor Packer Mohammad told the court that Kang first fed wild doves and mynahs on April 13 and April 26. She was then given a verbal warning not to do it again.

However, she fed more birds on three other days — May 30, May 31, and June 1. These were at locations such as Upper Changi Road North and Cosford Road.

She was spotted in the passenger seat of her vehicle throwing food to the animals.

She was also seen feeding wild birds along Fernvale Road in Sengkang on Aug 25. The authorities sent her a warning letter over this, and she was under investigation at the time for her previous offences in April.

“She was proven to be a recalcitrant bird feeder,” Mr Packer from NParks told the court.

The prosecutor sought the fine imposed, saying that birds have ample food due to the abundance of fruiting trees and plants. “Singapore is a city in a garden there is no reason for anyone to feed such birds.”

He also said that it could pose a serious public health issue, as the birds would be conditioned to rely on food handouts and linger around residential areas.

This could disturb residents and inconvenience businesses when the birds leave droppings on rooftops, the ground and nearby vehicles.

The fine would be “sufficient to send a strong message to wildlife feeders to deter their conduct”, he added.

For each charge of intentionally feeding wildlife without written approval from NParks’ director-general of wildlife management, she could have been fined up to S$5,000.

Repeat offenders can be fined up to S$10,000 for each offence. — TODAY

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