Alleged wild chicken killing in Singapore park: ACRES files report for investigation, NParks 'looking into the matter'

Photos shared on Facebook on the incident spark concerns, queries on legality and consequences of such actions

Facebook user Joel Lee's images shared on 17 Feb in the Nature Society Singapore Facebook group reveal a man carrying what seems to be a lifeless chicken through the park.
Facebook user Joel Lee's images shared on 17 Feb in the Nature Society Singapore Facebook group reveal a man carrying what seems to be a lifeless chicken through the park. (PHOTO: Joel Lee/FB)

SINGAPORE —The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) has taken action following reports of an alleged incident involving the killing of a wild chicken in a public park in Singapore.

Anbarasi Boopal, co-chief executive officer of ACRES, confirmed with Yahoo Southeast Asia on Monday (19 Feb) that the society had filed a report with National Parks Board (NParks) for investigation after being made aware of the incident through media queries.

The incident was brought to light by Facebook user Joel Lee, who shared images in the Nature Society Singapore Facebook group on Saturday showing a man carrying what appeared to be a lifeless chicken in the unnamed park. Lee's post raised questions about the legality and consequences of such actions, sparking concern among some wildlife advocates.

The Facebook post sparks questions on legality and consequences
The Facebook post sparks questions on legality and consequences, (PHOTO: Joel Lee/FB)

Ensuring compliance and awareness

Boopal explained that if the chicken was indeed killed for food, specific regulations must be followed, such as ensuring the premises are licensed with regulations in place for slaughtering.

The ACRES co-CEO also shed light on the challenges surrounding wildlife management in urban environments."We have come across one to two cases a year reporting catching of wild fowl by the public, but also culling operations of free-roaming chickens in areas where feeding occurs, due to resident complaints on noise to the town council."

She also addressed concerns that individuals may not be aware of local legislation protecting wildlife and animals. ACRES said it manages the OWN (Our Wild Neighbours) campaign, funded by Mandai Nature, and has plans already put in place to engage and educate the workforce who frequently encounter wildlife about relevant laws and wildlife etiquette.

Increasing trend of free-roaming chickens

Singapore is home to many free-roaming and wild chickens, primarily found in parks and green spaces. Boopal urged the public to refrain from feeding or capturing these animals, and highlighted the trend of possibly abandoned pet chickens.

"Worryingly, this is an increasing trend as we have even seen chickens such as silkies, Serama chickens and hybrids being found free-roaming, possibly abandoned from being kept as pets.

"We hope that the rampant online trade in chickens and quails is put to an end in Singapore, to address such occurrences," she added.

NParks responds to alleged chicken capture incident

In a statement to Yahoo Southeast Asia on Monday, Chia Seng Jiang, Group Director of Parks at NParks, said that they were alerted on 18 February to a case of a man who allegedly caught a free-ranging chicken at Pasir Ris Park on 17 February and is"looking into the matter".

"It is an offence under the Parks and Trees Regulations to capture or displace any animal within any public park without the approval of the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation," he added.

Offenders may be fined up to $5,000. In the past five years, NParks has taken enforcement action for only one case of an individual taking wild chickens from parks.

Jiang further stated, "Carrying out any activity within any public park which one knows or ought reasonably to know may cause injury to, or the death of, any animal or any other organism within any public park is also not permitted."

NParks mentioned that they conduct regular surveillance of birds to detect diseases. While birds can carry several diseases, they will only pose a significant risk to human health if prolonged contact occurs.

To reduce the risk of contracting diseases, NParks strongly encourages the public against touching wild birds, including free-ranging chickens, and recommends practising good hygiene if such contact happens.

This includes thorough handwashing with soap and water after being in close proximity to birds or their waste products.

Moreover, to ensure food safety, consumers are advised to purchase and consume food products, including poultry, from approved sources only.

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