A Fairyland for our Furry Friends
By Rachel Lee, a sub-editor at a travel magazine during the day and the resident writer and occasional photographer for Noah’s Ark CARES by night.
The hooves of the horses gallop in a rhythmic thump as they streak over the grass. The dogs weave unafraid in between their legs with their tongues lolling about, chasing the mighty beasts and barking happily. Nearby in the cattery, the cats stretch, laze around and groom themselves in the afternoon heat. Over in the hutch, the rabbits hop daintily about in the sand, contentedly munching on fresh green leaves and carrots.
This is Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary (NANAS). This is home to 800 dogs, 300 cats and 5 horses, a hutch of rabbits and 2 monkeys. This is where these animals do not need to search for a constant source of food and water, and shelter ever again in their lives. This is freedom.
NANAS’ humble beginnings were started in 1995 solely one man’s dedication and enthusiasm to provide a home for stray animals. His name is Raymund Wee. Due to rising land costs and restriction of space, Raymund knew that the sanctuary was unable to continue operating in Singapore. At the turn of the 2nd millennium, NANAS was moved entirely to Johor Bahru, Malaysia and has called a 10 acre plot home ever since. At NANAS, we practice a no-kill policy and let the animals live out the rest of their lives in happiness and dignity.
On the other hand, Noah’s Ark CARES is the Singapore arm that does fund-raising to keep the sanctuary running and participate in animal-related events. Working in tandem with the local government and other welfare societies, we help raise awareness through education, conduct animal rescues and attend to animal cases.
Both NANAS and Noah’s Ark CARES are non-profit organizations solely dependent on private donors and sponsors to keep us going. The day-to-day activities of Noah’s Ark CARES are handled by a small group of volunteers who hold full-time jobs. It is not an easy task for us all, but we keep at it, knowing that at the end of the day, our efforts will be worth the while.
Our mantra is as such: sterilization is the best solution there is when it comes to controlling the stray animal population.
Visit NANAS and you will see why. Our dog and cat populations are mostly from Singapore and most do not have a specific breed. These animals have lived on the street at one point in time and compete everyday for food, water and shelter. Just because you do not see them on the streets, does not mean they do not exist. In fact, the situation is very real and in dire straits. Yet, not every animal can be rescued and brought to NANAS. The financial burden we currently shoulder is massive, having to care for the animals already entrusted in our care.
Moreover, these strays are sometimes accompanied by purebreds thrown onto the street. Owners get tired of their pets and refuse to keep them, choosing to abandon them, thinking their problems are solved. This further exacerbates our problem as most house pets are usually not sterilized. Running rampant, this would in turn create more unwanted litters. More often than not, we come across such cases and we cannot help but wonder what background did the animal come from. If only they could talk.
Animals too, have a place in this world, possess feelings, and they are certainly not toys. Love your pets just as you would a human being and strive to be a responsible pet owner.
Through our actions and efforts, we hope to eventually make Singapore stray free. It is not an impossible goal. But it is a goal that requires a lot of money, time and manpower.
Lim Yaohui is a horticulturist on weekdays and photographer on weekends. As a sensitive observer who pays immaculate attention to details, he hopes to use photography as a medium to help people who do not have the opportunity to express themselves.
David Chay was introduced to photography at a tender age but it was only recently he took it seriously. He hopes to be a freelance wedding photographer someday.