SINGAPORE: A man who kept at least five hedgehogs illegally was fined S$2,200, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said on Thursday (May 18).
Raymi Thye Mustafa, 24, was fined S$1,000 for keeping a hedgehog illegally and another S$1,200 for obstructing its investigation. Four other charges involving other hedgehogs were also taken into consideration during the sentencing.
In its media release, AVA said it was alerted to the sale of a hedgehog on online marketplace Gumtree on Jan 10 this year.
It conducted an undercover operation with an AVA officer posing as an interested buyer.
Raymi tried to flee when the AVA officer identified himself and asked him to produce his identification card. However, he was caught and the hedgehog seized. Raymi led officers to his home, where they found and seized another four hedgehogs.
The hedgehogs have been placed in the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), AVA said.
In the media release, AVA said that wild animals such as hedgehogs were not allowed to be kept as pets in Singapore. "Wild animals are not suitable pets as some may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and can be a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape into the dense urban environment," the agency explained.
In addition, wild animals that are non-native to Singapore may also be a threat to local biodiversity if released into the environment. Demand for such animals would fuel an illegal wildlife trade, which would severely impact the wild populations of numerous species, it added.
Members of the public with information on such illicit activities can contact AVA at 6805 2992. All information shared with AVA will be kept strictly confidential, the authority said.