By Floweret [Letter to Editor\
Saturday, March 22, 2014
This letter is written to address and raise awareness of conservation and wildlife with some helpful tips I have learnt and would like to share with you, caring citizens and wildlife lovers to take part, together, in preserving our country’s assets.
Recently, in a few published articles in the local newspaper, we’ve seen that nature and wildlife enthusiasts have begun passionate initiatives in rescuing stranded or injured wild animals.
I must give credit for this initiative and bravery act, rescuing the pangolin and the wild cat were commendable.
However, there are some points I need to raise and emphasise with regards to saving wildlife. This is important.
To introduce a captured animal to a new habitat is not as simple as picking up and dropping off the animal to any forest.
The success of ensuring the survival of the animal is dependent on its ability to adapt to the new habitat and its ability to reproduce.
For instance, having a female and male mammal in a place at a particular time does not necessarily result in the successful breeding of a young.
In order to increase reproductive success, the number of viable individuals is important, meaning there must be sufficient number of males and females that are reproductively active and healthy in order to reproduce.
Conservation is dependent on the ability to preserve and maintain the species’ survival and successful reproduction.
Therefore, it is highly crucial to understand that releasing any wild animal into the wrong habitat, with no comprehensive knowledge of its population ecology, is not considered helping or saving the animal at all.
In order to deduce which area a captured animal should be released, one must know the carrying capacity and the community structure of that ecosystem.
This is significant as we have seen numerous studies and reports on the effects (which are often disastrous) of the introduction of a new species into a community.
In a nutshell, the most fundamental aspect of conservation includes understanding:
1) The nature of the species concerned,
2) the habitat of which it lives in, and
3) the inter- and intra-species relationships involved within the ecosystem.
Failure to grasp the significance of this complex relationship, one cannot pursue conservation successfully, and may exacerbate the already difficult situation.
Other times, one can get hurt. Approaching a wild animal first (and again) require sufficient understanding of the animal and the know-how of saving the animal.
Essentially, one must never touch a wild animal.
Inexperienced and unskilled person would get hurt if they handled wildlife improperly.
All wild animals would naturally attack in order to flee.
I must also comment that performing a CPR to a wild animal is highly unsafe if done improperly and could even allow transmission of disease either from animal to man or vice versa. So I would urge all readers to refrain from doing that.
Call for help. If urgent, an injured animal can normally recover by giving it some water.
Once an animal has successfully recovered and released, one should not publicise the location of the release. This is to protect the whereabouts of the wild animal from poachers or any other illegal hunters.
This explains why the authorities have been doing capture and release operations in silence.
With that knowledge, it does seem like a difficult task to do, so many aspects to consider when one only tries to save an injured animal.
Surely there has to be simpler solutions for us, concerned citizens, passionate wildlife enthusiasts, do to help conserve wildlife.
Indeed there are, and here are some tips.
What should one do when an injured wild animal is found by the roadside?
Often when this happens it is an indication that the habitat is disturbed usually due to human activities. You should not touch the animal.
When the injured animal is caught, it usually is in the state of shock. You might get hurt if you act recklessly.
Normal practice is to give the animal some water and move away from the animal to allow it recover.
If the animal is injured due to a broken appendage or severe cut, call the Museum Department, Wildlife Department or the Heart of Borneo unit. They can advise you what best to do.
What should one do when poaching is seen in action?
Report. Call the Wildlife Department.
You will realise that this small seemingly insignificant act prove beneficial and very helpful.
Some poachers are dangerous thus it is safer to report their activity and locality to the authority.
If there are security guards nearby, prompt them and ask them for help.
To share an experience, a few friends once caught poachers trying to catch Magpie robins in the local university and managed to successfully stop the poachers with the aid of the security guards on duty.
What should one do when wild animals are found being sold in local markets?
Wild animals in local markets are often sold with high prices.
The sellers are unaware and often ignorant of the consequence of their actions especially when their catchers provide them with high wages.
Although this is difficult to tackle at times, one should explain to the sellers the significance of conservation and call the authority, so that they can carry out the necessary action to mitigate this problem.
What should one do when a dead wild animal is found?
Give it to the museum department. They may help you identify the species of the wild animal, and are experts in preserving carcasses.
How to reduce road-kills?
Driving more cautiously and within the speed limit along high-ways can do a lot in reducing road-kills.
I strongly believe we can only achieve great outcomes when everyone works together.
It is through this unity, the collaboration between government sectors, non-government sectors, nature loves, wildlife enthusiasts, conservationists and the mass public that we can excel.
I sincerely hope that all readers, wildlife enthusiasts and nature club members would actively raise awareness through education and act together, cautiously and intelligently towards mitigating the problems we are now facing.
We are all but the guardians of our country’s jewel.