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21 Jul, 2023 16:39

Serial bird-feeder fined $3,000

Singaporean authorities view rock pigeons as an invasive species
Serial bird-feeder fined $3,000

A 67-year-old man was issued with a S$4,800 (US$3,600) fine in Geylang, Singapore on Friday after he repeatedly ignored warnings prohibiting the feeding of pigeons in the area, according to local media.

Singaporean national V. Rajandran was slapped with the penalty after he was found to have violated four laws under the country’s Wildlife Act. Local media outlet CNA reported on Friday that a further 12 charges against Rajandran had also been taken into account. He paid the fine in full. Failure to do so could have resulted in a 16-day jail sentence.

The court was told that Rajandran was observed in the Aljunied Crescent area on August 26, 2022 offering slices of bread to local birds. After being told that his actions had broken local laws, he was found to have breached the rule a further 15 times – the final occasion being in December 2022.

According to CNA, Rajandran would spend around S$20 to S$30 (US$15 to US$20) on bread to feed the wild birds, as well as using leftover rice. It was also noted at the trial that Rajandran had been fined by authorities in both 2018 and 2020, also for feeding pigeons. The prosecutor reportedly said during court proceedings that Rajandran had also been issued with a separate financial penalty of S$3,700 (US$2,780) earlier on Friday for littering

Rajandran, who was not represented by a legal team, responded that he had “nothing to say” when asked if he had any comments for the court, CNA reported.

In March, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) and National Parks Board (NParks) told the Lianhe Zaobao newspaper that rock pigeons were an invasive species that is not native to Singapore, and that they compete with local species.

“Their droppings dirty the environment and cause disamenities like the soiling of clothes,” the agencies said in their statement. It added that “the public can help reduce the pigeon population growth by not feeding these birds and ensuring that food scraps are properly disposed [of].”

NParks also said it takes a science-based approach to controlling the rock pigeon population, involving the removal of human-based food sources and the introduction of methods to predict their foraging and roosting patterns. The government agency also said that, between February 2021 and March 2023, it had issued warnings or fines to more than 270 individuals for bird-feeding.