Around 2 days ago I was informed of a Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis) that flew into a person’s house by accident. This isn’t all that surprising an occurrence since Blue-winged Pittas are currently on migration and are quite prone to getting lost in urban areas.
I made contact with the lady whose house the bird had flown into and advised her to call the ACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore) 24hr animal rescue helpline so they could conduct a health evaluation and rehabilitate the bird for release if it was injured.
The lady, however, seemed to have other plans for the bird and was extremely reluctant to release the bird into ACRES’s care, insisting instead that she could look after the bird for at least one night. She also mentioned that she tried feeding papayas to the bird, even though the Blue-winged Pitta is an insectivore and will only feed on insects and other invertebrates.
She assured me that she was only going to keep the bird for one night and call ACRES the next day to have them pick up the bird. I called her again the next day to follow up on the case and found that not only had she not called ACRES, she suddenly seemed very intent on releasing the bird back into the wild herself. After some prodding, however, she also admitted that she wanted to keep the bird for another 2 more days. Once again, I strongly advised her to have ACRES pick up the bird since wild birds are not only difficult to look after without proper training, but are also illegal to keep under section 5 of the Wild Birds and Animals Act. She once again reassured me that she would call ACRES when she got home from work.
At around 8pm I received a call from the lady and she was clearly quite flustered. She informed me that although she had been providing the bird with food via her maid, she arrived home to find the bird unmoving and unresponsive. It was only at this point that she decided to call ACRES, who arrived to find the bird dead.
The tragedy of this whole incident is that this could have entirely been avoided had the lady surrendered the bird to the animal rescue experts at ACRES instead of trying to look after the bird herself.
Wild animals are just that – wild – and they are not the same as pets. They have not adapted to a domesticated lifestyle and this is especially so for the normally forest floor-dwelling Blue-winged Pitta.
The situation echoes the incident with the bat just over a month ago. Had the person called for professionals to rehabilitate and release the bat instead of treating it like a pet, then the loss of life could’ve entirely been avoided.
If you should come across a live wild animal in distress, please don’t try to be a hero. The potential loss of an animal’s life should far outweigh whatever brief sense of gratification one can gain from rescuing an animal. Call the ACRES animal rescue hotline at 97837782 instead.
Source: David Tan Facebook