My intrigue with animals began with those huge encyclopaedias parents often buy for their children, heavy and sharp-edged, with way too many words and too few pictures. I remember that even as a kindergartener I would only read the pages about snow leopards and elephants and flamingos, and secretly use the ones about traffic lights and cargo ships to press flowers from the garden.
As I grew older, I began to see the impacts that human actions had on the animals that so fascinated me, even on the sunny island I call home. Wild creatures smuggled to be sold as pets, sharks killed and eaten in soup, forest animals wandering around on busy roads–disoriented, uprooted and homeless.
A year ago, I learned of a pack of wild dogs that had begun to live on a grass patch in a residential estate in Pasir Ris–an area that had previously been a forest and their home. As the dogs began to spend more time trespassing on human soil, people started to find the dogs a nuisance and the AVA was soon called in to remove them.
The circumstances reminded me of the human propensity to sacrifice our creaturely neighbours in the name of progress and comfort, and propelled me to make the decision to volunteer at a local dog shelter to help rehome dogs whose lives had been disrupted by human activity.
Even as children it is easy for us to understand the beauty of nature and the need to preserve it. We can all do our part in our own ways to help alleviate the footprints that our presence leaves here on our planetary home.