SINGAPORE – Despite the fundraising challenges caused by the pandemic, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) is facing its animal advocacy mission with renewed energy on the occasion of its 20th anniversary.
In April of last year, during the blackout period, its 24-hour wildlife rescue hotline received approximately 1,100 calls per month. This number is currently 1,800 calls.
Wildlife Rescue Group co-chief executive Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan, 35, said the reasons for the increase include more people starting to explore the island because they couldn’t travel to it. foreigner, which meant closer encounters with local wildlife.
Some species, such as macaques and common palm civets, have also adapted well to living in urban residential areas, he said. With more and more people working from home, awareness of these creatures within them has also increased.
“We all need to do our part to coexist with wildlife. Misconceptions and lack of awareness of wildlife may also have led to an increase in calls for conflict cases, as more people may have started to feed wildlife outside of calls for the animals to be removed. “, did he declare.
Acres needed more resources for its three rescue teams, which work in pairs, supported by volunteers. More than 150 reptiles, birds and mammals are in his custody at all times at his Jalan Lekar Rescue Center in the northwest, near Choa Chu Kang.
Acres was founded in 2001 by a group of animal welfare-minded Singaporeans, including current Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng. As he marked his 20th birthday last Monday (May 24), Acres said he continued to work on his mission to create a world where animals are treated with compassion, despite obstacles to fundraising.
The nonprofit originally planned to host a gala dinner – its largest source of donations each year – to celebrate the occasion with its supporters, with the goal of raising $ 140,000. But the event’s cancellation, along with his other plans in light of Covid-19, forced him to seek other sources of funding to support his high volume of relief.
Beyond rescuing animals, Acres is also tackling the wildlife trade through its education and awareness programs, which also had to be suspended due to tighter Covid-19 restrictions this month. – here after an increase in community cases.
Other pending projects include a collaboration with the Wala Wala Cafe Bar in Holland Village to raise funds through a menu of cocktails named after native wildlife. This was halted due to the recent dinner ban in restaurants for a month.
Acres has turned to online events, where the public can register and donate to participate, such as an art lesson hosted by one of its volunteers who is also trained in textile design.
Other events are free, such as a live Instagram broadcast on May 22, showing Co-CEO Anbarasi Boopal with two wildlife rescue officers in action as they answer calls during a typical day. .
To bring positive stories to its supporters, Acres launched a series of videos last November, said Ms Anbarasi, 38, who has worked full-time for Acres for 14 years.
Stories featured in all five episodes so far include rescuing a python stuck in a drainage pipe and rearing three baby palm civets abandoned for months before releasing them back into the wild.
One of its main objectives this year is to improve the rehabilitation of the native fauna which takes refuge there through more specialized enclosures, before it is released into the wild. He also hopes to buy more intensive care units.
Mr Kalai said, “It has been an incredible 20 years of helping animals and the community. But beyond rescues and working to promote awareness and education, our aspiration is to cultivate compassion for all sentient beings. We will continue to strive to achieve this goal. “