Two bird trappers fined as prosecutor cites increase in bird poaching

Two bird trappers fined as prosecutor cites increase in bird poaching

Bird trap
The spotted dove bird that died in the trap, and various trapping devices. (Photos: ACRES)

SINGAPORE: Two men were fined in court on Wednesday (Sep 16) for trapping birds in unrelated cases. One of the birds died in a wire trap.

Koay Soon Lye, 68, was fined S$800 for trapping a wild scarlet-backed flowerpecker bird from the Jalan Kayu area in March last year.

Lim Thiam Hay, 67, was fined S$1,200 for using a wire trap to capture a spotted dove bird at a grass patch in West Coast Park in September last year. The bird died in the trap and was found to be dehydrated in a postmortem examination.

Koay pleaded guilty to a charge under the Wild Animals and Birds Act for trapping and taking a wild bird, while Lim admitted to an offence under the Parks and Trees Regulations of using a trap to capture an animal in a public park.

In Koay's case, the National Parks Board (NParks) had received feedback from a member of the public about a wildlife poaching incident near 1 Brompton Road in Seletar.

NParks officers found Koay with a live scarlet-backed flowerpecker in his nylon mesh bag, along with trapping paraphernalia such as glue, wire lace and an electronic bird-caller sound device.

Investigations revealed that Koay is "a bird hobbyist" who left home that day to trap wild birds.

He admitted to trapping the flowerpecker near a temple along Jalan Kayu, and said he had gone to Brompton Road to capture more live birds but was unsuccessful.

WIRE TRAP LAID

For Lim's case, a member of the public called the police about illegal bird trapping in West Coast Park on Sep 18 last year.

Lim had gone to a grass patch in the park that morning and laid out a wire trap to capture spotted dove birds.

He returned about two hours later and found a spotted dove bird caught in his trap, but it was dead. He buried the bird nearby before the police arrived. 

When questioned, Lim admitted that he had set up the trap and caught the bird. He showed the police where he had buried the bird and recovered the carcass.

A postmortem examination by NParks' Animal and Veterinary Services found that the spotted dove bird was in a dehydrated state.

The prosecutor asked for fines for both men, noting that there has been an increase in bird poaching cases.

Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive at wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), told CNA that the group was alerted to the case by a member of the public and had visited the scene. 

"We are glad that NParks took action through prosecution, serving deterrence to those who attempt to poach wild birds," she said.

ACRES handles slightly more than 35 poaching cases a year, she said, adding that it is "alarming" that some individuals attempt poaching even in HDB areas or with traps hanging from their units.

She urged members of the public to report suspected poaching activities with photos or videos to NParks or ACRES.

Lim could have been fined up to S$5,000 for using a trap on an animal in a public park, while Koay could have been fined up to S$1,000 for taking a wild bird.

Source: CNA/ll(gs)

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