Thinking of releasing animals into the wild this Vesak Day holiday? Think again, says NParks and PUB.

Local authorities will be patrolling nature reserves this coming Vesak Day holiday, in an effort to educate the public on the dangers of releasing animals into the wild.
By Latasha Seow
Published on Monday, 08 May 2017


It is a common practice for those celebrating Vesak Day to release animals into the wild as a symbolic act of liberation. With the holiday approaching, members of both the National Parks Board (NParks) and Public Utilities Board (PUB) have decided to work together to stop the release of animals into the wild, in an exercise termed ‘Operation No Release’.


Volunteers and officers from both NParks and PUB will patrol a total of 18 reservoirs and nature reserves. The operation began last weekend, on the 6th and 7th of May and will continue this weekend, the 13th and 14th of May. You can view the full list of reservoirs and nature reserves that will be patrolled here.


Officers and volunteers will be looking out for signs of animal release, as well as taking some time to educate the public on the harmful effects of releasing domesticated animals into the wild.


NPark’s group director of conservation, Wong Tuan Wah, emphasises the vast negative effects that releasing these creatures into the wild. "The few that are able to adapt to the new environment may disrupt the ecological balance of our natural habitats by competing with our native species for resources,” he explains. “This is particularly so for our nature reserves, which have more sensitive ecosystems, and animals released into waterways outside of the nature reserves would still have adverse effects if those waterways lead into the nature reserves.”


As it turns out, the animals’ release has an adverse impact on us as well. "Aquatic ecosystems are complex and dynamic as the organisms living in them are often interdependent. The release of non-native species into our waters will not only have an impact on the ecology and water quality of our freshwaters but may also pose a risk to users of our waterbodies," adds Mr Ridzuan Ismail, PUB’s director of catchment and waterways.


Pet owners who release their pets into the wild will be charged under the Parks and Trees Act. A fine of up to $50,000 could be imposed upon those who break this law. You can find out more about Operation No Release here.