Story by Adrian Goh
Since the beginning of time, only Man has spoken in his books that line his civilisation. Should bears, lions, monkeys, whales, dogs and other animals have their account, books will not only be differently written, tomes more will document the counts of inhumanity against them.
Before the world mechanised, the human race was much more capable of love. Nature was closer and walls were yet to be made of stone and metal. Through time, the race as a whole got distanced from naturally-occurring ecosystems and in place of that relation, distrust in the form of locks and weapons took root. We began the paranoia.
But not everyone is consumed.
Today, there are people working in earnest to reverse the motion. They realize their birthright as caregivers and guardians to the many aspects of the earth. They are people with their fears and distrust uprooted to promote life.
Most of all, they are people who act locally and quickly.
Singapore-based Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) has brought to light illegal wildlife captivity and trade in local grounds. It may surprise, but developed, squeaky-clean Singapore is a hot zone for traders feeding the local demand for wildlife creatures from hobbyists and other irresponsible individuals. This on top of being a point of transit for the trade to other countries in the region.
After all, illegal wildlife trade and animal cruelty is not exclusive to just one part of the world. It happens in the least likely of
places, if not everywhere, and this calls for muscle to constantly police against it. With ardent campaigning, this will help dampen the demand for turtle meat and shells and raise the plight of animal suffering in bear farming and shark fin consumption.
ACRES earned its credentials in its focus on ending animal cruelty. It grew from an obscure little office in May 2001 to, soon, a two-hectare rescue centre in Sungei Tengah Agrotech Park, northern Singapore. ACRES has rehabilitated more than 160 rescued animals and even managed the repatriation of some to their native origins. Among them are a long-tailed baby macaque, pig-nose turtles, a ball python and even a bearded dragon.
“The ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre will provide sanctuary to more than 400 rescued wild animals at a time, giving them a second chance at life and enabling repatriation to their native country for certain animals where possible. The educational programmes there will create awareness about wildlife, the illegal wildlife trade and its harm to the environment,” said Louis Ng, ACRES’ Executive Director.
There is no certainty in getting these rescued animals to survive but, with the new sanctuary, ACRES will give them reprieve from cruelty and captivity - a holding ground until they get back to their natural habitat, if at all. That's because funds are needed for repatriation, on top of on-going rescue efforts and conservation development.
Continuing its efforts, ACRES is throwing a fund-raising dinner on May 23 and tickets (100% of proceeds goes to protecting the wildlife) are for sale. For full details about the dinner or donations can be found at www.acres.org.sg.
While local muscle like ACRES has set off a momentum for its community, it remains a global effort to end the inhumanity and destruction of the ecosystem. With efforts in each country pooling together, more people will snap out of the daily humdrum to give themselves to this cause.
Photos courtesy of ACRES.