Great-billed Heron: Poaching

posted in: Illegal-Irresponsible | 0

The Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana), standing at 115 cm tall, has been claimed to be the tallest resident bird in Singapore (left). According to our bird specialist R. Subaraj, the Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), is much taller at 122.5-129 cm. But then this stork is a non-breeding visitor to Singapore.

The Great-billed Heron is confined to rocky shores and mangroves, mainly on offshore islands and the west coast. It is also locally endangered with only about 20 plus birds left. Internationally, the bird is near-threatened.

You can imagine the concern and indignation among local nature buffs when they found that there is someone actively trying to catch this rare heron using a juvenile bird. The captive bird as well as the owner were photographed by Nick Baker’s neighbour at Queensway (see map, bottom).

The tethered bird was seen in an open field (above) with the owner sitting nearby under the shade of a tree. Obviously he was waiting for his captive bird to lure another for capture (below).

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority was alerted but so far has not been able to meet with the person possessing the heron. Dr Lou Ek Hee, Head, Animal Welfare Regulations Branch, AVA, has written:

“My officers have gone down but did not see the individual or the bird. …In view of this, could I request that you contact my officers Mr Tan or Mr Lee should you see the individual with the bird again? Mr Tan’s tel. is 6471 9996. Mr Lee’s is 6471 7198. Thank you.”

Anyone seeing the man and his captive heron, please alert AVA.

NOTE: Any member of the public who witnesses wildlife poaching in progress can contact the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) during office hours as follows :

AVA Wildlife Regulatory Branch:
Ms Lye Fong Keng – Tel : 6325 7349

Other contacts in the same branch include:
Mr Gerald Neo – Tel : 6325 7290
Ms Yvonne Low – Tel : 6325 7626

After hours or at weekend, we suggests you contact the Police directly. Inform the Police of the presence of ‘suspicious characters’, not mentioning poachers.

Input by Nick Baker and R. Subaraj, images obtained through Nick.

Follow YC Wee:

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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