Unethical practices while watching and photographing birds…

on 1st November 2015

The joint statement by the National Parks Board and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore regarding the baiting of the Grey-headed Fish-eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus) that went viral should put an end to this shameful act by over-enthusiastic bird photographers in Singapore (left). The statement warned that such acts that include harming or interfering with the flora and fauna in our local parks and nature reserves will be dealt with under the law.

In the past over enthusiast birdwatchers and photographers had been involved in clearing vegetation for a better view of nesting; handling or tying up chicks for better photography; and use of call playback, placing mealworms as bait, spotlighting, etc.

Check out this LINK by veteran birder Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS for a more thorough discussion on such practices.

Of all the above frowned-upon practices, nothing can be more abhorrent than something that can harm wildlife, specifically stuffing styrofoam into fish to bait raptors. The bait, in this case the fish, needs to be alive and struggling on the surface of the water for it to attract raptors, thus the styrofoam. Such a method is used to obtain the dream image, rather than spending hours in the field hoping for such an opportunity.

The Bird Ecology Study Group (BESG) and Birds, Insect N Creatures Of Asia (BICA) wish to state that we do not encourage or approve of any attempts at interfering with nature in the field while either watching birds or photographing them.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. Camera producing companies who are ever on going with their R &D should be reading this article too including their marketing agents ;what monsters they have made bird photographers into when used in wronghands / with obsession in getting perfect shots, feeding own ego just to try and out do each other . Such practices are not new news & will go on until made illegal by law.

    If chewing gum can be outlawed in Spore, I am sure Govt will have keen ears to listen and act upon if concerned bodies act together. When successful, other developed nations or gonna be developed by 2020 would finally see light at end of tunnel to emulate too.
    Ah….so pathetic.


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